Coronavirus: 'non-essential' Dubai stores to close for two weeks

Supermarkets, banks, pharmacies and others will be allowed to remain open

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Dubai has ordered all non-essential businesses to close from March 25 until April 8 to help contain the spread of Covid-19.

Officials said shisha cafes, gyms, theme parks, cinemas, salons, spas and most other services should cease trading.

Some key businesses will be exempt from the suspension, however, including supermarkets, pharmacies and banks.

Restaurants and cafes in hotels will also be allowed to stay open, as will bakeries, laundries and car workshops.

"All shops, except outlets such as such as grocery stores, supermarkets, co-operative societies and pharmacies that provide for the basic needs of residents, have to remain closed from today till to 8th of April 2020," a statement from the Department of Economic Development said.

"The businesses closing down can continue online sales and e-commerce activities during the closure period."

The UAE has introduced a raft of measures over recent weeks in an effort to slow the rate of coronavirus infections.

Public gatherings have been banned and people have been asked not to leave their home unless absolutely necessary.

International flights have also been restricted, in line with similar moves by governments around the world.

On Wednesday, the DED said inspections would be carried out to ensure businesses complied with the new instructions.

A special exemption was also given to food outlets in shopping malls, which will be allowed to offer takeaways and delivery services.

Meanwhile, businesses that can continue trading were told to limit the number of customers in their stores at any one time.

Shoppers should also maintain a distance of at least two metres apart from each other.

"Banks will continue to operate normally unless any other directive is issued by the UAE Central Bank," the DED said.

"Exchange houses and clinics can also continue to operate as usual with due regard to the guidelines on sanitisation and social distancing."