Coronavirus: Dubai allows some food outlets to open before Ramadan

Dubai Economy said some shops will stay open from 8am to 8pm to help people prepare for the holy month

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Jun 18, 2014 -  Customers at the vegetables section with a banner that says " Ramadan Kareen" inside the Geant supermarket at Ibn Batuuta Mall. ( Jaime Puebla / The National Newspaper )
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Dubai is allowing some food traders to reopen during set hours to enable residents to buy Ramadan essentials.

Food shops that stayed shut during the National Disinfection Programme will now be exempt from this ruling.

Following a directive from the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, shops that sell fish, coffee and tea, meat, fruit and vegetables will be allowed to open between 8am and 8pm. Roasters and mills for nuts and baking supplies will be included.

On Monday, Dubai Economy said sweet shops in malls across the city would also stay open.

The authority confirmed that other commercial food outlets outside shopping malls may open during the same hours.

The relaxation of restrictions means individuals and families now have additional access to fresh food and ingredients to prepare for the holy month.

Those working in these food shops and establishments should obtain movement permits to commute between home and work.

All the reopened outlets must maintain strict hygiene and ensure shoppers keep a safe distance from one another.

Officials from Dubai Economy will carry out regular inspections to make sure they comply with the guidelines.

The UAE announced 398 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday, bringing the total to 4,521, while 172 more people recovered.

On March 25, the UAE closed all markets and shopping malls as the authorities enforced strict stay-at-home orders to tackle the spread of the coronavirus.

The only retailers that remained open were supermarkets and chemists.

Restaurants and cafes catered to home deliveries with no dining-in.

All places of worship are also closed. In recent weeks, imams across the region have delivered their Friday sermons online.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has said that prayers will continue to take place at home, not in mosques.

During Ramadan, Muslims will be permitted to pray at home only, Abdul Lateef Al Sheikh, the kingdom's Minister of Islamic Affairs, announced on Monday.

This year, astronomers predict the first day of Ramadan will fall on April 24, but this has yet to be confirmed by the official moon-sighting committee.