UAE coronavirus rules eased to allow more people at hotels, malls and weddings

Restrictions, including those on restaurant seating, were eased on the same day the lowest daily case numbers since May 20 were reported

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The UAE will further ease its coronavirus restrictions to allow more people to sit together at restaurant tables and hold larger weddings.

Under the new rules, hotels will be allowed to run at full capacity.

The National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority set out the latest nationwide changes on Sunday.

These include allowing 10 people to sit together at a cafe or restaurant. Wedding halls and other events can operate at 60 per cent capacity, or up to a maximum of 300 people. Those attending must wear masks unless seated and eating.

Malls and shopping centres can raise their capacity to 80 per cent. Although hotels can go back to operating at full capacity, they must maintain precautionary measures, including social distancing.

Cinemas, recreational facilities, galleries and museums will be allowed an 80 per cent operating capacity.

The operating capacity for live events is set at 60 per cent provided that social distancing, mask-wearing and regular sanitisation guidelines are observed.

Public transportation can operate at 75 per cent capacity.

The authority repeated its previous ruling that anyone attending live events and exhibitions must have received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine. A PCR test taken in the previous 48 hours would also be required.

It also stipulated that attendees could attend "provided that their second dose is no more than six months old, and no more than 3 months old for senior citizens and those with chronic diseases", state news agency Wam reported.

Earlier, officials reported 1,410 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours – the lowest figure since May 20. Four patients with underlying health conditions died, taking the death toll since the pandemic began to 1,975, health officials said.

The Ncema said local authorities in each emirate would now be responsible for overseeing and amending rules as they see fit, allowing for greater flexibility depending on the local situation.

Individual emirates, including Dubai, have previously set out different capacity levels and rules for events, while enforcing federal rules, for example, ensuring that masks are worn in all public places.

In May, Dubai's own crisis authority eased the rules to allow 10 people to sit at a table, 100 people at a wedding and 30 people at a private party, barbecue or dinner gathering. Hotels were already allowed to run at 100 per cent capacity.

In Ras Al Khaimah, which has experienced a boom in staycations, officials last month extended restrictions on mall capacities and live events until August 31, but kept hotel occupancy at 100 per cent.

In other developments, Emirates and Etihad reiterated that UAE residents who are trying to travel home from six countries must have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in the Emirates to return.

People who were immunised in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Uganda or Nigeria are not eligible to return to the UAE at this time, regardless of which vaccine they took.

Updated: August 9th 2021, 11:36 AM
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