13 guidelines for Abu Dhabi restaurants
Some eateries outside malls can open provided they adhere to safety protocols Image Credit: For illustrative purpose only

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) has allowed some restaurants, cafeterias and coffee shops operating outside shopping malls in Abu Dhabi to reopen their doors to customers after verifying their compliance with precautionary measures and guidelines needed to ensure consumer safety, a statement from the authority has said.

After obtaining COVID-free results, owners and workers of these facilities were permitted to open.

The move, in coordination with Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), comes in line with ADAFSA’s efforts to ensure food services are resumed in a safe environment under the current pandemic situation.

Dr Mohammed Salman Al Hammadi, Director of ADAFSA’s Legislation Division, said, “ADAFSA had previously set several preventive measures for owners and workers of these facilities. These include a requirement for the facility’s workers to get tested for COVID-19 to ensure they are virus-free, operating at a maximum 40 per cent of the facility’s capacity and maintaining at least 2.5 metre social distancing between tables and closing waiting areas.”

Each table should only have four people and body temperature of all customers should be checked before they enter the facility. Buffet and hookah services are still prohibited. All workers and customers must wear face masks and gloves when they are inside the facility, he said.

“If a worker is confirmed COVID-19 positive, the facility must stop its operations, and direct all workers to the nearest healthcare centre for necessary checks,” Al Hammadi said.

The facilities should clean and sanitise all surfaces, equipment, chairs and tables after each use, as well as clean toilets throughout the day.

Free testing for restaurant workers

“In cooperation with Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre, ADAFSA has designed a page in the food facilities’ accounts on its website, calling on them, through SMS, to enter their employees’ data into this page. This enables workers of food facilities willing to resume their activities to conduct COVID-19 testing for free,” he said.

In addition, ADAFSA has carried out extensive inspection campaigns to ensure the compliance of food outlets with all precautionary measures, to promote food and consumer safety, Al Hammadi said.