Dubai retailer shut down for flash sale that saw crowds flout Covid-19 rules

The department store's owners were also fined Dh50,000 for breaching distancing measures

Dubai's authorities acted after shoppers were filmed piling into the discount store in large numbers. The National
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A department store was shut down after holding a flash sale that led to crowds piling into the outlet, flouting Covid-19 rules.

Dubai Economy also fined the business Dh50,000 after video of shoppers spilling out onto the street on Wednesday on was widely circulated.

The agency, which regulates trading standards, said it would not be “lenient in any way” with retailers who break social-distancing measures.

Dubai Economy identified the store as discount chain Day-to-Day, in an image that showed a closure notice stamped on the front entrance.

Government officials stressed that returning to normal trading meant businesses and shoppers must be "cautious, not reckless". Retailers, staff and security guards are responsible for managing shoppers and Covid-19 rules.

A widely circulated video showed shoppers packed into a stairway inside, in clear breach of rules on two-metre distancing.

The incident unfolded at Day-to-Day's Union branch in Al Rigga, Deira. Crowds leaving the packed store caused traffic to come to a halt, a video posted by a passer-by showed.

Abdul Latif, a co-owner of Day-to-Day, told The National that they had not expected "such a massive crowd" when they advertised a 75 to 90 per cent sale.

He said it was staff who called police and closed the doors, and said the firm has permission to reopen from Sunday.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES , September 10 – 2020 :- Outside view of the Day to Day department store which was shut down by the authorities after the flash sale that saw crowd and flouting COVID 19 rules at the store near Union Metro station in Al Rigga in Deira Dubai.  (Pawan Singh / The National) For News

There has been a steady rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the UAE, with officials stressing the need for the public and business owners to be responsible.

On Wednesday, 883 new cases were recorded – the highest daily rate since May 27, though more than 80,000 people were tested that day.

The number of active cases across the Emirates stood at 8,229 on Thursday.

Fewer than 400 deaths have been reported, and the vast majority of patients have fully recovered.

Officials singled out social gatherings of friends and families as a main cause of the rising numbers, along with parties in restaurants and hotels.

Most retailers were allowed to reopen from late April, followed later by bars and restaurants, though safety measures to guard against spreading the coronavirus are in place across the emirate, and nationwide.

The decision was taken to help get the economy back on track and allow people to return to work.

Dubai Economy said inspectors continue to carry out spot checks to ensure outlets are complying with rules.

Hundreds of traders have been fined or temporarily shut down, including barbers, salons and retail outlets, among others. The safety measures have enabled various economic sectors in Dubai to reopen and reduce the impact of the pandemic on society.

The authority urged consumers to report those who are not complying with precautionary measures by calling 60054555, on the Dubai Consumer mobile app or on their website.