Dubai limits number of people allowed to sit together in restaurants and cafes as cases surge

Ruling comes after a high number of incidents of non-compliance with current Covid-19 preventive measures

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The number of people allowed to sit together at the same table in Dubai restaurants has been reduced from 10 to seven and only four people will be allowed to sit together in cafes, under new directives issued to help stop the spread of Covid-19 in Dubai.

The new measures, by the emirate's Supreme Committee for Crisis and Disaster Management, were included in a number of changes issued late on Friday.

The minimum distance between tables has also increased from two to three metres.

New rules have also been introduced for gyms and fitness centres where distancing between sports equipment and between trainees has been increased from two metres to three metres.

Attendance at social events, including weddings and private parties, is also being limited.

Only first-degree relatives – a person’s parents, siblings and children – will be allowed, and no more than 10 people can attend.

The ruling, which starts from January 27, applies to events in hotels as well as gatherings in homes and comes after a high number of incidents of non-compliance with current precautionary and preventive measures.

The new rules were announced as the country reported a record number of new Covid-19 cases on Friday at 3,552, the highest number of daily infections for the 11th consecutive day.

They were detected after another 170,694 tests were carried out across the country and brought the total number of cases to 270,810.

Another 3,945 patients recovered from the virus, taking the total number of people to have overcome Covid-19 in the UAE to 243,267.

In Dubai, non-essential surgery  is suspended until February 19. The same decision was made in March to protect at-risk patients and release equipment, such as ventilators.

Hotels and restaurants in Dubai were told to halt all live entertainment in their venues because of the surge in cases.

The directive from Dubai Tourism, which affects performances by DJs, dancers and bands, came after a rise in the number of breaches found during inspections.
Dubai Media Office said the decision was made to ensure "public health and safety" and that "all permits issued will be on hold effective immediately".

Licenced premises are not required to close bars and restaurants – which were all shut during the first wave in April last year – but have sought further clarity from authorities.