Coronavirus: Abu Dhabi allows very small weddings amid Covid-19

Safety measures remain in place to protect guests and prevent the virus from spreading

Formal wedding ceremonies can be held in Abu Dhabi but must not exceed 10 guests, authorities said on Sunday.

Face masks must be worn at all times and disposable cutlery and utensils must be used if food and drinks are served.

Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre issued the updated guidelines, which aim to protect the public and prevent the spread of Covid-19 while allowing some social gatherings to resume.

The centre recommended that guests take a Covid-19 test 24 hours before the event to ensure the safety of those attending.

The notice said up to 10 people could attend funerals but condolence gatherings were not permitted.

"Instead, offer condolences by telephone or other communication methods," the guidelines said.

All who attend the funerals or weddings must maintain a physical distance of at least two metres. The organiser of the event should ensure they have selected a venue that can accommodate these rules.

Sunday's announcement followed changes to guidelines regulating social gatherings issued by authorities in Abu Dhabi at the weekend.

It limited social gatherings to 10 first-degree family members and recommended prior Covid-19 testing.

Hosts are also required to remind their guests to regularly wash their hands, officials said.

Hosts must explain sneezing or coughing etiquette to guests.

Under the rules, buffets are banned. Surfaces must be continuously sanitised.

Those invited must monitor their health and refrain from attending should they develop flu-like symptoms.

The organiser must also choose a separate room to isolate anyone who may display symptoms of infection during the event.

The notice advised the elderly and people with chronic illnesses not to attend any social gatherings.

Breaching these safety measures will lead to penalties and fines, in accordance with the laws issued by the UAE Attorney General.

On Friday, eight people were arrested across the country after police raided three weddings being held illegally and without adhering to safety precautions.

Action was taken against wedding organisers because guests were not first-degree relatives.

Prosecutors said those attending had scant regard for measures to prevent the spread of the virus, with guests flouting face masks and physical distancing rules.

Two incidents occurred in Abu Dhabi and another was reported to have taken place in Ras Al Khaimah.

The eight people arrested face fines of at least Dh10,000 and possible prison terms.