Abu Dhabi reduces capacity at malls, gyms, cafes and restaurants

New capacity limits range from 40 per cent to 60 per cent, under the rules issued by Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development

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Capacity in malls in Abu Dhabi has been reduced as part of a raft of new restrictions designed to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Malls across the emirate must operate at no more than 40 per cent of their maximum capacity, according to a notice issued to retailers seen by The National.

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

All staff working in malls must wear gloves and masks at all times under the rules, which were issued by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

Employees of cafes in the capital confirmed the move, saying they were informed of the change on Friday and took steps to comply.

On Friday, Vox Cinemas announced it had been ordered to close its screens in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain "until further notice", as part of the new guidelines.

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.