Dubai hotels told to axe Friday brunch and yacht parties restricted

Tourism officials say any activity that ‘leads to large gatherings such as weekend brunches’ is suspended until February 28

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Dubai’s hotels and restaurants have been told to suspend brunches as authorities further tighten the rules on social gatherings.

Dubai Tourism singled out brunches – which typically have all-you-can-eat-and-drink deals and entertainment – in an email to hotels and restaurants.

The authority told managers to “postpone any activity that leads to large gatherings such as weekend brunches”.

Tours or parties on yachts were also restricted to 10 people. Previously, vessels were allowed to sail with 50 per cent capacity.

It reiterated that hotels must operate at no more than 70 per cent occupancy and no further bookings or extensions should be made until that figure is complied with.

Dubai Tourism said “any failure to comply with precautionary measures will result in serious action against the venue”.

On Monday, the government cut mall and venue capacity, a move that also affected cinemas, pool use and sports complexes.

Any licensed venue classed as a “pub or bar” – which includes nightclubs – but that is not a restaurant was to close immediately.

Despite the decision, restaurants and bars that serve food to people seated at tables can stay open. The decision was seen by the industry as a lifeline, allowing them to serve residents and tourists at a time when the global hospitality sector is in crisis.

Although “brunches” are now off the menu, special offers and set fees for meals and alcoholic drinks were not specifically ruled out.

On Wednesday, hotels and bars told The National they were still taking orders for scaled back "set deals" this weekend, and would have various distancing measures in place to ensure compliance.

All serving of food and drinks must be to customers seated at tables, officials reiterated.

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