Coronavirus: wedding venues in Ras Al Khaimah allowed to reopen from Tuesday

Brides and grooms and their guests must wear face masks during ceremonies as authorities set out strict safety guidelines

A couple wearing face masks amid the COVID-19 coronavirus get married at a wedding ceremony at a mosque in Banda Aceh earlier this month. AFP    
A couple wearing face masks amid the COVID-19 coronavirus get married at a wedding ceremony at a mosque in Banda Aceh earlier this month. AFP    

Couples in Ras Al Khaimah can once again tie the knot in public after authorities gave the go-ahead for wedding venues to reopen from Tuesday.

The emirate's Department of Economic Development has issued a set of strict safety measures which must in place in order for wedding and event halls and cinemas to resume operations.

Brides and grooms as well as their guests would be obliged to wear face masks at all times during ceremonies.

The department did not specify if there would be a limit on the number of guests allowed to attend weddings.

Mofida Abdullah, who works at Tahani Al Khaleej wedding services agency in RAK, said that she does not expect to receive a flood of wedding halls bookings during the upcoming months due in part to the Covid-19 regulations that must be implemented.

“I do not think that people will be encouraged to book a wedding hall now and will continue organising home weddings,” said Ms Abdullah, who has worked at the agency for more than 11 years.

“Arranging a wedding at a hall might not be the best idea now as people are still afraid of the virus and no one might show up for the wedding.

“And also the fact that they should all wear a mask at the wedding might not suit everyone so they will prefer to keep it simple at home or postponed it until the pandemic is over.”

Ms Abdullah said that she had helped organise about ten small in-home weddings and the agency had received bookings for ten more.

“Weddings at homes are less expensive and only a limited number of family members attend it with safety distancing and precautionary measures put in place,” she said.

While many couples decided to go for a small wedding at home, some have chosen to postpone it until next year like Maryam Saeed.

“I always dreamed about having a huge wedding but it is not possible now during the current situation so we decided to postpone it until next year,” said Ms Saeed, a 23-year-old Emirati bride-to-be.

“The wedding was supposed to take place in September but we cancelled the booking and decided to wait until everything goes back to normal.”

Earlier this month, a government minister said the rise of virtual weddings prompted by the Covid-19 outbreak offered a "golden opportunity" to slash marriage costs and encourage more couples to wed.

Hessa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, told a remote meeting of the Federal National Council that the financial burden of lavish weddings led to many nuptials being delayed.

She stressed that wedding services carried out online - a necessity in recent weeks due to large gatherings being banned for safety reasons - could provide a cost-effective alternative long after the pandemic has been contained.

Officials ordered all workers be tested for Covid-19 as a mandatory requirement before reopening their respective facilities.

As well as ensuring all employees and visitors wear face masks, people must also maintain social distancing and temperature checks will be carried out on arrival.

Venues will also be frequently sterilised as part of ongoing efforts to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Arranging a wedding at a hall might not be the best idea now as people are still afraid of the virus

Mofida Abdullah

Entry to cinemas and wedding halls will be prohibited to people who show symptoms of respiratory diseases or those with a temperature higher than 38°C.

People over the age of 70 and individuals suffering from respiratory illnesses will not be allowed to enter cinemas, while guests will be encouraged to pre-book their tickets to avoid any queues and maintain social distancing.

Food and beverages must be sold in disposable boxes and containers, while 3D and 4D movies will be banned along with the distribution of blankets in the gold and platinum halls.

Customers will be allowed to remove masks while eating and a safe space should be kept between seats inside the movie theatre.

Wedding and events halls should be completely sterilised on a daily bases while toilets should be cleaned and sterilised after each use.

Kitchen workers at wedding halls should also wear protective masks, gloves, aprons and head caps and change them after preparing each meal.

RAK Community Police Department should be informed one day prior to the wedding or event ceremony in order to secure and maintain public safety requirements.

Published: June 23, 2020 04:09 PM

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