Malls in the emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi may reopen soon since their doors were closed for four weeks to curb the spread of the coronavirus. During Ramadan, limited social gatherings will also be allowed to take place in Dubai, provided that they are limited to ten people.
According to a circular issued by Dubai Economy, the government has asked mall authorities in the emirate to remain on standby and await further instructions for reopening. The circular does not mention a date for the reopening, however, it does state that strict safety measures for both staff and shoppers must be put in place for when they do reopen and that the staff must wear masks at all times, with hand sanitizers installed throughout the malls.
People above the age of 60 and children aged three to 12 will not be allowed to enter the malls, while those entering must limit their time spent inside to not more than three hours. Social distancing of 2 meters must also be followed inside the mall with occupancy capped at 30 percent, while food and beverage outlets must reduce seating to 30 percent and place the tables at least six feet apart. A red tag on the entrance of both restaurants and malls must be hung to display the maximum number of people allowed inside.
As for the operational times, malls and shopping centers will be allowed to remain open for ten hours but must conduct 24-hour sanitization. Additionally, they must also implement a screening process to check the temperatures of everyone entering the premises while having a mandatory isolation area in place for potential Covid-19 positive cases.
.@AbuDhabiDED is consulting with stakeholders on re-opening malls in #AbuDhabi. In line with government plans for a gradual increase in economic activity, the Department is exploring options in collaboration with the private sector. pic.twitter.com/46ny6Rmmgb
— مكتب أبوظبي الإعلامي (@admediaoffice) April 22, 2020
In Abu Dhabi, the announcement comes as a part of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development’s plan for a gradual increase in economic activity. The department is currently in discussions with the owners and managers of the shopping malls, and like Dubai’s authorities, it has not mentioned a date for the reopening of the facilities but has outlined the precautionary measures to be taken. According to reports, Abu Dhabi’s shopping centers and malls will remain open from noon until 9pm. This does not include supermarkets and pharmacies which can remain open from 9am to midnight. The overall capacity of these centers will be capped at 30 percent while senior citizens over the age of 60 will not be allowed to enter. As part of the stringent safety measures, staff and customers must compulsorily wear masks and gloves and maintain social distance.