Dubai has recently changed travel restrictions within the emirate, and as part of the new guidelines, restaurants and cafes are allowed to open up once more.
However, that’s no reason to throw caution to the wind. There are still restrictions and measures in place to keep both customers and staff safe.
Here are some things to keep in mind when planning a meal out ...
1. Make a reservation in advance
As part of the guidelines, restaurants and cafes can only fill 30 per cent of the outlet’s capacity. In light of this, restaurants have put reservation policies in place to prevent overcrowding.
If you are planning to head to a venue, call in advance to secure your spot. This will also give you the chance to confirm that the restaurant is accepting customers – many are still closed or operating under different timings due to Ramadan.
2. Wear a mask
Face masks may not be associated with dining, but they are still an absolute must whenever you are leaving the house. According to the guidelines set by Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, those not wearing a face mask will be subject to a fine of Dh1,000.
The National spoke to three restaurants, and they all said that once someone is safely seated within the restaurant, they can take the mask off while eating, but only while ensuring they are following social distancing protocol.
This includes staying two metres away from people who you didn't enter the restaurant with (and you should only be sharing dining tables with people from your family, or from the same household 'bubble').
3. Touch as few surfaces as possible
Minimise physical contact wherever possible – an example would be opening doors using your feet or with your hand covered.
Reya S of Vego Cafe recommends customers look at menus of restaurants online and decide what they want to eat beforehand so that they don't have to browse through physical menus.
“Some restaurants are introducing contactless menus to minimise the need for menu books,” she adds. Also, pay the bill using a card with paywave capabilities, not cash.
4. Other changes to expect
According to the new guidelines, only single-use cutlery can be used in restaurants and cafes; staff should wear masks; buffets and shisha are not allowed and restaurants are also checking the temperature of guests coming in.
5. Be respectful of Ramadan
This is a special time for Muslims in the region as they will be fasting throughout the day.
Remember, if you are dining out during the day, ensure any leftovers are not taken out of containers or consumed when out in public.