Age limits, gyms and public spaces: which Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted in Dubai?

Over the past few days, Dubai has eased a number of restrictions to allow economic activities to resume almost entirely as normal

Restrictions across Dubai have eased considerably over the past few days but some measures remain in place to keep people safe from Covid-19.

Most public spaces can now be freely accessed by people of all ages as long as they maintain at least 2 metres distance with others, wear a face mask and sanitise often.

But what has changed and what are the rules on visiting places? The National explains.

What are the new age limits for public places across Dubai?

Most notably, this week Dubai eased restrictions on children under 12 and those over 60 years old from Thursday, June 18.

The emirate's Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management announced that people from both age groups can now go to swimming pools, play areas, cinemas, gyms and shopping malls.

They are also allowed to visit museums, art galleries, public libraries, beaches and public parks.

Home beauty services are also permitted for children and the elderly.

Elective surgical procedures lasting more than two and a half hours have also been allowed.

What is the capacity limit on gyms and can sports resume?

Gyms are also now allowed to function at 100 per cent capacity, after previously being set to a limit of 50 per cent.

Safety precautions remain in place, including wearing masks, regular sanitation, temperature checks on entry and social distancing.

Shower facilities, lockers and changing rooms are permitted, conditional that cleaning and sanitisation is performed after every use, or at a minimum once every hour.

Facilities unable to maintain social distancing, must reduce their capacity, while fitness centres need to make sure there are no more than two trainees with every Personal Trainer, and that the mandatory 2m distance is maintained between them.

The regulations also require facilities to display public announcements, and awareness signs in highly visible areas. They must also maintain adequate records of their members, including names, telephone numbers and visit dates, to assist if contact tracing becomes necessary.

Facilities are also required to have a contingency plan in case of a possible infection on the premises.

Sport venues must apply for a permit with Dubai Sports Council before resuming activities.

Children aged 12 and under and people over 60 can now take part in sporting activities too.

What about other public places?

Dubai Culture said all public libraries could also now reopen, with the exception of the Al Ras branch.

Libraries will resume their operations between 10am and 5pm daily except on Fridays.

Precautionary measures including thermal screening, social distancing, and regular use of hand sanitiser is mandatory for visitors and staff. Face masks must be worn at all times and all areas of the library will be frequently disinfected.

Entertainment and leisure attractions, such as The Green Planet, Dubai Aquarium, Burj Khalifa's viewing deck and water parks, are all now also welcoming visitors again.

Dubai's museums have also begun reopening in a phased manner.

Major parks and public beaches have also reopened, including Jumeirah Beach Residence, Al Mamzar, Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim beaches. Last week, officials in Dubai fined more than 100 beachgoers for failing to abide by the strict precautionary measures in place. They include a ban on gathering in groups of more than five, and mandatory masks if they are not in the water.

Marine and water sports competitions have also been given the go ahead to resume.

What are the safety measures?

The announcements are part of a gradual reopening of economic activities and return to normalcy in the emirate.

Stringent precautionary measures will continue to be enforced in public areas and facilities across Dubai based on guidelines issued by local and federal authorities.

Activities permitted within sectors that resumed their operations in the last few weeks will continue observing specific precautionary measures aimed at safeguarding the health and well-being of the public.

Authorities have reiterated the need to following strict precautionary measures, including wearing face masks, maintaining a distance of two metres from others and avoiding crowded areas. Emiratis and residents are also advised to keep washing their hands and not to touch their faces to avoid potential infection.

What is the status on Covid-19 in Dubai?

Dubai is able to ease all these measures because the threat of coronavirus has decreased since the initial outbreak.

This week, officials said the emirate was on track to curb the spread of the virus as the daily number of recoveries in the UAE exceeded new infections for nine consecutive days.

The emirate’s Covid-19 Command and Control Centre said the precautionary measures and adherence by the public have helped reduce the number of new cases.

The centre also reported a decrease in the number of suspected cases visiting hospitals in the past few weeks.

Dr Amer Sharif, head of the centre, said several hospitals in Dubai are now free of any Covid-19 cases.

He attributed the progress to the government's strong strategic plan to combat the outbreak.

The consistent drop in the number of new cases has been made possible as people adhere to strict precautionary measures.

“[We need] to continue following guidelines and adhering to preventive measures such as physical distancing and use of sanitisers," he said.

“The easing of movement restrictions in the emirate and the reopening of economic activities were smoothly implemented due to the co-operation of all members of the community.