New Dubai Covid-19 rules: what you can and can't do as restrictions ease

The emirate lifted several restrictions as daily case numbers drop and the country progresses with its vaccination drive

Related: Dubai bars, clubs and live venues told to use Al Hosn app to admit vaccinated guests

Dubai has begun to relax restrictions to stem the spread of Covid-19 after a fall in daily case numbers.

New infections in the UAE have fallen since the start of May, from about 2,000 at the start of the month to 1,401 on May 20.

Authorities in Dubai said they have eased some restrictions in hotels, restaurants and bars as part of a month-long trial period, during which events will resume.

So what has changed? And which restrictions remain?

Can I go out to brunch with friends again?

Yes, brunches are back on, and groups of up to 10 can sit together.

Social distancing should still be observed, but tables can be placed two metres apart instead of three.

The same rules apply to restaurants and cafes, with tables of up to 10 permitted, up from seven.

Up to six people can sit at a table in a shisha cafe, an increase from four.

Can I invite friends round for dinner or a barbecue?

Yes. You can have up to 30 people in your home for private gatherings, barbecues and dinners, as long as social distancing rules are observed.

This includes wearing masks, unless you are seated.

Can I start planning my wedding?

Bride Jubee Vargheese arrives at the cathedral in Dubai with her parents who are wearing mandatory face masks. Pawan Singh / The National
Weddings with 100 guests can now go ahead in Dubai, but everyone must be vaccinated and wear a mask. Pawan Singh / The National

Yes, weddings can now host up to 100 guests, who must also be vaccinated, as must be staff working at the event.

Weddings in private homes may host up to 30 guests, who must wear masks.

Previously, only 10 people were allowed at a wedding and all had to be related.

Can I invite people from abroad to my wedding?

Yes, but they need to be able to prove they are vaccinated.

Vaccinated tourists can download the Al Hosn app and register using the "unified number" (UID) listed on their visa, or use an electronic certificate.

I have not been vaccinated yet. Can I go to a bar or a concert?

No. Only people who have received both doses of Covid-19 vaccine can go to bars, nightclubs, music concerts and events.

Large public events that require permits are now allowed and may admit 1,500 indoor guests and 2,500 outdoors.

What about shopping malls? Do I have to be vaccinated to go there?

No, you do not have to be vaccinated to visit a shopping mall.

Are pubs, bars and nightclubs now open?

Yes. Pubs, bars and some nightclubs can now open but only for vaccinated patrons, who will need to prove their status by using the Al Hosn app or by showing an electronic certificate.

All venues that do not serve food were closed in February, but now they can re-open if they apply for a permit from Dubai Tourism.

However, not all nightclubs can open, as some hold different licenses which are not covered by the current change in regulations.

Mansour Memarian, the hotel manager at the Palazzo Versace Dubai said his staff were prepped to check vaccination certificates.

"As of now, we have implemented a system in which receptionists at our re-opened bars and venues ask for guests’ vaccination cards as they enter, walk in the outlet or are asked to show us their status on the government official vaccination app," said Mr Memarian, who has worked in the UAE since 2010.

Can I sit at the bar in a pub, bar or nightclub?

Yes. Table-service-only rules have been dropped, and patrons can sit at the bar.

A National reporter visiting a hotel bar this week was told they could sit at, or close, to the main bar if they had proof they were vaccinated.

If not, they were told to sit in the adjacent lounge, where tables were spaced apart in accordance with the two-metre rule.

Under the month-long trial, live entertainment and activities have resumed at restaurants, cafes and shopping malls.

Will there be live music or DJ's in restaurants, bars and pubs?

Yes, entertainers and musicians are allowed to perform again, but only if they are vaccinated.

Can I dance?

No. Dance floors remain closed pending the outcome of the trial.

How do I prove I am vaccinated?

Via the Al Hosn app. Clubs and live venues in Dubai have been told they must ask for proof of Covid-19 vaccination using either the Al Hosn app or an electronic certificate.

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What has not changed?

Masks are still required in all public places, except in certain circumstances. That includes during strenuous workouts, when dining and while seated at a restaurant table.

Anyone found breaking the rule can be fined Dh3,000 ($817).

"Dubai's Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management stressed the need for the community to adhere to the updated measures," Dubai Media Office said.

"Inspections will continue to be carried out by the authorities to ensure compliance with the measures. Offenders will face stiff penalties."

Officials said they need the co-operation of members of the public "to promote an accelerated return to normality".

"Working together is key to ensuring the highest levels of health and safety in the community and preventing any setback to the efforts to curb the pandemic," it said.

Updated: May 20, 2021 04:02 PM

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