Tourists at the Dubai Mall. Malls in Dubai continue to attract shoppers despite the threat of coronavirus worldwide. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: With all the new rules following the reopening of businesses in Dubai we decided to run through changes you can expect at the most common locations from hospitals to restaurants, and cinemas to gyms. Here’s a quick ready reckoner for you to be sure you get your coronavirus etiquette correct and don’t get stung by fines or a talking to...

Picture for illustrative purposes: a restaurant in Dubai Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma, Gulf News Archive

What’s changed at restaurants?

When dining out in the city, a few considerations have to be made during the COVID-19 pandemic. In most cases, UAE residents should ideally call ahead and book a reservation to ensure a table and that the restaurant can seat you at 50 per cent capacity.

All venues must implement social distancing and are applying a two-metre physical distance between all the tables.

Upon entering, some eateries even take your temperature. Residents should still be wearing a mask, however once seated, your mask can be removed. It should be wrapped in a tissue paper if possible and placed safely in your bag. It is best not to put your mask on the table surface, chair or floor. Put it in a bag if possible.

Restaurants also have to provide all guest with single-use cutlery and plastic cups that can be disposed after one use.

Restaurants and cafés are still not allowed to have any buffets or to serve shisha.

Picture for illustrative purposes: a gym Image Credit: Shutterstock

What’s new at gyms?

As restrictions in Dubai began to ease and gyms reopened with a 50 per cent capacity, eager fitness buffs have to bear in mind certain guidelines before visiting.

Many gyms have introduced a booking system, where apps can be used to book resident’s space at the gym. This way, they can control how many people arrive and access the facilities.

Gym goers have to pack their own sweat towel and water bottle, as they will not have access to these at the fitness center.

When arriving to the gym entrance for a specific time slot, temperatures will be checked. Anything above 37.5, means that no access will be granted. Anyone with a cough, temperature, breathing difficulty, respiratory disease or immunodeficiency, will also not be allowed to participate in any sports activities.

Once inside, residents will then have between one hour and an hour and a half to complete their workout.

Visitors should be wearing their masks as they arrive and leave the gym, but are allowed temporary removal, when engaging in strenuous indoor exercise or high intensity workouts, as it may exacerbate known or unknown health conditions.

Many of the gym machines are not in use, as they are the ‘physical distancing machines’, that allow for a two metre space between visitors. Runners will always be one treadmill apart.

After completing a work out on a specific machine, antibacterial wipes are available for everyone to wipe down their own machine once done.

The gym closes after each time slot for 15 to 30 minutes in order to complete sanitisation of floors, walls, machines and exercise studios.

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Picture for illustrative purposes: a cinema in Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

What should we do at cinemas?

With cinemas re-opening across Dubai after months of social restrictions in light of the coronavirus pandemic, additional restrictions are in place that need to be followed for a safe viewing experience. While each cinema group is implementing guidelines as per its needs, a 30 per cent rule has been in effect when entering a movie theatre.

Temperature checks are required prior to entry, as is wearing a face mask. Online purchase of tickets are being encouraged, along with contactless payments.

Social distancing of 2 metres apart is also a must, which must be maintained inside the theatre. Seats directly adjacent and in rows above and below are being left vacant, while options of couple seats and families of a maximum of four people are allowed to sit together.

For dining in and F&B experiences only disposable cutlery is being implemented, while show times have been reduced to allow for sanitisation in between screenings.

Those are visiting the drive-in cinemas are required to stay in their vehicles unless stepping out to use the restrooms, which are also cleaned after every use.

Meanwhile, those wondering, cinema staff are also required to wear masks and gloves at all times and will have their temperature checked regularly.

Currently, in line with government restrictions, individuals above the age of 60 and children under 12 years of age will not be allowed to enter.

Picture for illustrative purposes: Rashid Hospital Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

What about hospitals?

With the resumption of full health care services, hospitals across Dubai are ensuring compliance with strict protocols that segregate COVID and non-COVID patients.

In the new normal, patients going for Outpatient (OPD) consultation are accepted by appointment only. All patients visiting hospitals have to wear masks, gloves, maintain social distancing and adhere to hand hygiene routine. Hospitals are constantly educating patients on this through PA systems and placards.

They are also ensuring constant cleaning and sanitation of patient reception areas, elevators, and Operation Theatres by approved DHA professional services. Doctors have to wear full Personal Protection Equipment and consultation rooms have to sanitised between patient visits. In case of procedures like ENT or dental, a gap of 20 minutes is given between two consultations and the room is thoroughly cleaned and sanitised.

Screening and Identification

“Patients entering a hospital are triaged beginning with thermal scanning for temperature. Anyone found with high temperature is flagged and redirected to a separate entrance to ensure there is no mixing of patients,” said Dr Santosh Sharma, consultant neurosurgeon and medical director at NMC Royale Hospital in Dubai Investment Park (DIP).

Under direction of the DHA, hospitals are being encouraged to dedicate one branch as a designated COVID-19 hospital so that other branches can be COVID–free. Dr Sherbaz Bichu, CEO of Aster Hospital Mankhool, said Aster has designated the newly opened 50-bed hospital at Muhaisnah specifically for moderate to severe COVID-19 patients. “Our Ghusais and Mankhool branches are non-COVID-19 hospitals.”


Dr Mohammad Rafique, Medical Director of Prime Hospital, said: “Elective surgeries on COVID-19 positive patients are not advised, but in cases of emergency surgery, hospitals have dedicated Operation Theatres. Intensive Care Units and High Dependency Units for infected patients are segregated on one floor, while all other patients have beds and ICUs on other floors. In case of non-COVID patients too, a nasal swab test is mandatory before surgery. If found positive, the same rules apply. if negative, a patient undergoes surgery but hospital visits have been done away with. Only a couple of close relatives are provided access.

Linen and laundry management

Any linen that is generated from the care of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case is segregated in water soluble bags, placed in red bags and sent to the linen department collection area from where it is dispatched for disinfection. The same goes for treatment of waste generated. Disposable cutlery is provided with meals to eliminate chances of infection.