UAE drops mandatory wearing of face masks in outside areas

They will still be required within closed and indoor areas

People will no longer have to wear face masks outside from Saturday, Abu Dhabi and Dubai's crisis authorities have confirmed.

It followed the announcement on Friday from the UAE federal government's crisis authority that wearing face masks in outdoor areas will no longer be mandatory from February 26.

Instead, the use of face masks outside will now be optional, the Supreme Council for National Security said in a Twitter post.

Face masks must still be worn in all indoor areas and public places — including shopping malls and schools.

In addition, quarantine is no longer required for close contacts, but they should take a PCR test daily for five consecutive days.

In Dubai, close contacts of positive cases who are not experiencing any symptoms do not have to quarantine, and no PCR testing is required.

The decision is among the most significant easing of restrictions since April 2020, when the pandemic spread across the Middle East and the globe.

Further changes were set out by several federal government departments within the same hour.

Ncema said PCR test requirements for fully vaccinated passengers coming to the UAE would be halted.

And Abu Dhabi authorities will drop the need to show a negative PCR test when crossing the border between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Each emirate free to amend rules

In a statement, state news agency Wam said each emirate was free to determine several aspects, including “the quarantine period and PCR tests for Covid contacts in whatever sectors and professions".

Within closed areas, “for economic and tourist sectors, physical distancing has been cancelled while mask-wearing in closed places is still mandatory".

Previous directives have allowed each of the emirates to impose different rules — particularly relating to public venues, bars, restaurants, gatherings in private residences, weddings and funerals — while enforcing federal rules on issues such as mask wearing.

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Updated: February 28, 2022, 4:08 AM
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