Abu Dhabi government to cut workplace attendance to 30 per cent

Many public sector employees will work remotely from Sunday

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Most Abu Dhabi government employees will work from home from Sunday, under new rules to help tackle the pandemic.

Workplaces will operate with just 30 per cent attendance, with the remainder of staff working remotely.

People who work for semi-government run companies and authorities will follow the same measures.

The decision is similar to measures rolled out last year to help to drive down cases.

Employees with underlying health conditions, including weak immunity, those older than 60 and people with disabilities will also work remotely.

Any role that could be "delivered fully" from outside the workplace should also be done from home, the government media office said on Saturday, meaning that many workplaces are likely to have fewer than 30 per cent at their desks.

A compulsory PCR test for all government employees is required every week. People who were fully vaccinated, and have the gold star or letter E on the Al Hosn tracing app are exempt.

The decision follows a federal government move to ensure any who declines the vaccine is regularly tested.

Earlier, malls across Abu Dhabi were told to operate at no more than 40 per cent of maximum capacity.

Gyms were limited to 50 per cent, while restaurants and coffee shops must admit no more than 60 per cent of their capacity.

Vox Cinemas said it had been ordered to close its screens in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain "until further notice".

Customers said they were turned away from the Vox Cinema in Yas Mall on Friday by staff who said the company had received a notice instructing cinemas in the emirate to shut.

A message on the company’s Instagram account said: “In compliance with the government-mandated closure of cinemas in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, Vox Cinemas will be temporarily closed from Friday, 5 February until further notice.

“We will be back soon, so please stay tuned for updates on reopening.”

The new restrictions follow a series of measures announced by Dubai in recent days and weeks to curb the spread of Covid-19.

They included cutting seating capacity in various venues including cinemas, entertainment and sports complexes to 50 per cent.

But the closure of cinemas and reduction in capacity at malls, gyms, restaurants and coffee shops are the first such measures to affect Abu Dhabi since last summer.

The emirate closed all stores except supermarkets and pharmacies as the virus spread last spring, but it slowly unwound the restrictions over the summer as new cases ebbed.

Later, the UAE reported a further 3,276 new Covid-19 cases and 12 further deaths.

The figure was lower than the peaks seen in recent weeks, as figures hovered around 4,000.

The latest update takes total cases since the pandemic began to 323,402 and total recoveries to 301,081.

The death toll from the virus since February, 2020 stood at 914 on Saturday.

In the past seven days, 76 people in the UAE died of Covid-19 in one of the worst weeks on record.

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