“I won’t let it stop me from living my life,” my friend Celina tells me over the phone. I nod along.
This past weekend I went to a fully-booked brunch, two sold-out parties and three different dinners.
Anxiety over the spread of the coronavirus has disrupted schools, nurseries, travel, and major global events. But locally, it seems like smaller-scale events and private gatherings are still thriving.
Caution, not panic
It makes sense that during this time, people need to be more careful. I am personally taking every recommended precaution including washing my hands frequently, trying not to touch my face and avoiding handshakes, hugs or kisses with people.
I’ve also taken a trip to the pharmacy to buy myself some immunity boosters after reading that the immune system is the best barrier against falling seriously ill following a coronavirus infection. I found an antioxidant immunity powder made up of ground-up superfoods to give my body the nutrients that it needs to fight off any potential illnesses.
But the paranoia of getting sick won’t stop me from living and enjoying a social life. “Just stay home” my mom would tell me. But like… everyone is out… I don’t want to spend my weekends at home. If I am being honest, sometimes I just forget about the whole outbreak for a few moments while making plans with my friends. Then someone will make a comment about how I am always out and “shouldn’t you be worried?”
I am worried… slightly. But I’ll still go out. Hundreds seem to be on the same page as I am, according to what I witnessed last weekend. Life seems to be business as usual in Dubai. In addition to the fully-booked brunch I went to on Friday morning, nightclubs were crowded, full of carefree people dancing. Sure everyone pulled out a hand sanitiser every once in a while, but it seemed like things were pretty normal.
It doesn’t feel like coronavirus is in the air. It’s March. The weather is great, events tend to be aplenty during this time of the year, and people are taking advantage of the situation.
Too close for comfort?
You would think in a full club people would be all over each other, disregarding personal space, however, everyone seemed to have an unspoken agreement not to touch. Most people dancing together kept a safe distance.
Many people simply waved at each other when greeting and my friend group would regularly wash hands throughout the night.
On Saturday afternoon when I wanted to check out the Dubai Food Festival Beach Canteen, it was a struggle to find a parking spot. The lot was full.
People were lined up to get food and the performance stage and cooking shows always had an audience. Many of the food stalls provided hand sanitisers, other than that, people were enjoying their weekend and places were buzzing.
Every time I went out to eat these past few days, valet would take forever and restaurants were full of people. I tried to move my Saturday night reservation from 8.30pm to 8pm and the restaurant couldn’t accommodate my request. People in Dubai are out and about and it is evident.
So, yes, worry about coronavirus. It would be stupid not to. But people in the UAE seem to be still keeping life fun and exciting, just being a little extra careful while doing so.