Are you going to Dubai zoo? Please cover up

Women in sleeveless or above-the-knees clothes are not being allowed in unless they cover up with shawls and scarves provided at the entrance

  • Clothes encounters: Tourists Ese John from Nigeria was made to cover her bare shoulders at Dubai Zoo. She was Image Credit: XPRESS/Anjana Sankar
  • Respectful clothing: A notice at the Dubai Zoo entrance asks visitors to cover up their shoulders and knees Image Credit: XPRESS/Anjana Sankar
  • Clothes encounters: Tourists Fitore from Kosovo was made to cover her legs at Dubai Zoo. She was handed a s Image Credit: XPRESS/Anjana Sankar

Dubai: There is a slight nip in the air, but that’s not necessarily why you should not wear skimpy clothes when you got to the Dubai Zoo.

Women who expose their knees and shoulders will be stopped at the entrance. The regulation is part of Dubai Municipality’s move to enforce a public dress code.

Visitors who arrive at the zoo wearing sleeveless tops or short skirts are provided with scarves and shawls before they are let in.

To find out how stringently the rule is implemented, this reporter visited the zoo wearing a short sleeveless dress.

She was immediately stopped.

“You cannot go in. Your knees are okay. The problem is with your shoulders,” the staff at the ticket counter told her. “If you want to go in, you have to cover yourself with a shawl,” he said, reaching out to a stack of folded shawls next to him.

A notice at the entrance reminded visitors to wear respectful clothing. “Shoulders and knees should be covered,” it read. Inside the zoo, this reporter saw several women covering themselves with shawls similar to the one given to her.

“Last year when I visited the zoo, I wore a jumpsuit without shoulders and no one stopped me. But this time they made me cover my knees and shoulders,” said a woman,” pointing to a white shawl wrapped around her waist.

“I was taken by surprise when I was told I was not dressed appropriately. It made me very uncomfortable,” said Fitore, a tourist from Kosovo. The physiotherapy student who is on a first-time visit to Dubai was wearing a long-sleeved shirt over denim shorts.

Ese John from Nigeria who visited the zoo in a sleeveless T-shirt was told to cover her bare arms. “They gave me a white scarf and asked me to put it on,” said the first-time Dubai visitor.

“I never knew there was a dress code in Dubai because I have seen people wearing far more revealing dresses in malls. That said I respect the laws of the land and am happy to abide by them,” said another woman.

A Dubai Municipality spokesperson said the dress code cannot be compromised.

“It is the law. We are implementing it not only in the zoo but also in all parks,” he said.

According to the zoo staff, there have always been restrictions on wearing revealing clothes, but it’s only in recent times that they started enforcing it more strictly. “It is a public place and rules are very clear as how to dress up. As the zoo is close to Jumeirah beach, some women show up in their bikinis,” the Emirati staff said.

Your comment

  • Maz

    03-Jan-2013 11:59


  • syed Shahid Ali

    03-Jan-2013 11:39

    This is a remarkable effort by the Dubai Municipality towards public decency. Hope the same law is imposed strictly on people entering shopping malls and parks.

  • Farrah

    03-Jan-2013 11:37

    Good job. They should impose this in the malls as well because we have seen women in parks dressed up very inappropriately. These women should respect the laws and cultures of the countries they choose to visit or live in.

  • hashimbabu

    03-Jan-2013 11:24

    Rules should be appreciated and followed by everyone irrespective of caste/ creed/ sex/ nationality.

  • Afra Al Dhaheri

    03-Jan-2013 11:16

    It's fantastic that they want to enforce the dress code law but is this a joke? Seriously? Zoo's and parks? Why not focus on shopping malls first? Hardly few people go to zoos, especially the Dubai Zoo!

  • latif Shaikh

    03-Jan-2013 11:07

    Glad to see a uniform dress code being implemented.

  • xylo

    03-Jan-2013 10:39

    I always wonder how come tourists think of travelling without knowing the laws of the country they intend to visit.

  • Nazia

    03-Jan-2013 10:15

    Good move from Dubai Municipality to enforce a public dress code. I think this code should also be implemented in malls and other public places as well as. Nudity has increased to a great extent in recent days.

  • Aaliya SQ

    03-Jan-2013 09:59

    Good action. They should implement the same action in malls, beaches and parks as well.

  • Nizam

    03-Jan-2013 09:58

    Why only Zoo's, I should say animal behaviour is much better than human behaviour, so cover up only at the zoo, and be open in other areas, is that what you are saying? Hope you are not joking, good one though for 2013.

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