Dubai to allow some nightclubs to open for vaccinated revellers - but no dancing yet

Table service-only rules were also dropped but party-goers still need to socially distance

Some nightclubs in Dubai can now open to guests who are vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Officials clarified the move a day after restrictions on the hospitality sector were eased for a one-month trial.

Patrons can sit or order a drink at a bar, with table service-only rules now dropped, a Dubai Media Office spokesperson confirmed to The National.

But there will be no dancing yet, with dance floors to remain closed pending the trial's outcome.

It also does not mean that all nightclubs can open. Establishments that hold a bar or pub trade licence can welcome guests again but not all nightclubs have that.

Unlike Monday's decision, which covered hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues across the city, Dubai Tourism will accept applications from each venue and approve events and parties accordingly.

Each venue will require different safety criteria according to its size and shape.

All staff and visitors must have had the Covid-19 vaccine and it appears likely that security staff will be required to check the government's Al Hosn tracing app, which was used to screen fans at the President's Cup in Al Ain on Sunday.

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 is a twice-starred Michelin chef.

"To avoid any discontentment and miscommunication, we are also informing guests of this requirement beforehand upon making the reservation."

Boost for DJs, bands and performers

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

Nightclubs and bars which are not primarily restaurants were closed after the surge in January saw daily cases reach about 4,000 per day. That number dropped to just 1,200 in recent days.

There are separate rules for restaurants that serve alcohol and those classed as "bars and pubs".

Nightclubs are also subject to different regulations and they have different licenses.

The move is expected to come as a boost to entertainers, bands and DJs, many of whom are self-employed, paid by the shift and struggled during the pandemic.

They will permitted to perform again, as long as they are vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Mr Memarian, who has worked in the UAE since 2010, celebrated the relaxation of the rules for hoteliers, musicians and patrons.

"The hospitality industry will greatly benefit from the new measures, as well as the plethora of local talents who we have to thank for Dubai’s buzzing live entertainment scene that will be able to work again," he said.

"With live entertainment back, UAE residents and tourists will once again be able to enjoy the lively Dubai that we all know and love.

"At Palazzo Versace Dubai, live entertainment has always been an integral part of our offering across all F&B venues.

"Now that we can implement entertainment again, we are taking measures to ensure that all the artists we work with are vaccinated.

"As for the hotel, the majority of our team members are vaccinated, reaching 98% in May 2021."

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On Monday, officials urged the public and the industry to act responsibly, stressing the trial would be reviewed in June.

The fine for not wearing a mask remains Dh3,000 ($817) per person.

Furthermore, for a one-month extendable trial period Dubai Tourism will grant permits for concerts, social and institutional events, including gala dinners and award ceremonies.

These can only go ahead on the proviso that all attendees and participants must have received the Covid-19 vaccine, and as long as the latest precautionary measures are respected.

Hotels can now operate at 100 per cent capacity, while restaurants and cafes can host groups of 10 on tables two metres apart.

Brunches can go ahead once again and six people can sit together in a shisha cafe.

Weddings can also now host as many as 100 guests, and private parties at home can include 30 individuals.

Large events can begin with numbers capped at 1,500 for an indoor venue and 2,500 for an outdoor sports or music event.

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Updated: May 19, 2021 11:10 AM

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