Coronavirus: restaurants in Abu Dhabi to reopen for dine-in guests

Restaurants and cafes outside shopping malls will be allowed to reopen for sit-in customers but with safety measures in place

Restaurants and cafes across Abu Dhabi will begin receiving dine-in guests for the first time since closing more than a month ago to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The capital's Department of Economic Development said on Wednesday that food outlets based outside of shopping centres and malls would be allowed to reopen – but with measures in place to protect dine-in guests and staff.

It said restaurants could not resume operations nor receive customers "without prior co-ordination with DED and the concerned authorities", indicating a permit must be obtained ahead of reopening.

Food outlets closed to diners in mid-March as part of measures to prevent the spread of the virus but deliveries and takeaway services were permitted throughout.

Malls were also closed to shoppers except for supermarkets and pharmacies.

Last week, shops, restaurants and cafes in malls were allowed to reopen in Abu Dhabi but with capacity limits and other preventive measures in place. Including barring people over the age of 60 and younger than 12 from entering.

Now, food outlets outside malls can also reopen but can only have up to two people seated at each table, which must be distanced at least 2.5 metres apart.

Capacity cannot exceed 30 per cent and payment can only be made electronically.

Staff and customers must wear masks and gloves and disinfectants must be used frequently.

Outlets must only serve food and drink using disposable cutlery, and hand sanitiser dispensers must be put up.

Serving shisha remains prohibited in all establishments, the department said.