After more than three months of no buffets allowed because of the coronavirus pandemic, Dubai's much-loved all-you-can-eat meal stations are back in operation.
According to the latest circular issued by the Dubai Municipality on Thursday, June 18, all food and beverage outlets in the emirate will be able to serve buffets once more, as long as they adhere to certain guidelines and safety precautions.
For starters, a minimum social-distancing requirement of two metres has to be followed by those queuing.
Food will have to be served by staff, canteen-style, at the stations, which means guests will be not able to scoop up their favourite dishes for themselves for the time being.
Alternatively, establishments can choose to serve the food straight to guests' tables.
Customers are also not allowed to share or touch the serving utensils, and beverages must also be served directly to tables.
Restaurants are responsible for ensuring there is no crowding in the buffet area and that queues are managed properly. Food handlers should also wear face masks at all times.
Following this announcement, several restaurants that usually host buffets, such as Absolute Barbecues, which has two branches in Dubai, are considering re-starting services.
"We are delighted to hear that we will be able to re-start our buffet services once more, and will make all the necessary arrangements to ensure that customers do not have to serve themselves," says Shajeer Parambath, director of Mayfair Restaurants, the group that manages Absolute Barbecues.
"We will be starting buffet from next week after getting more clarity."
The new rules come amid a general ease of restrictions in Dubai.
According to the same circular, food and beverage outlets and food courts are also now able to operate at full capacity while maintaining high levels of hygiene, regular sanitisation and ensuring social distancing.