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Dubai: Restaurants and food outlets have reopened in Dubai, and not far behind, comes the watchful eyes of authorities.

Dubai eased its restriction on movement April 24, and simultaneously, malls and restaurants across the city were instructed to only allowed to operate at a maximum of 30 percent capacity, according to the Economic Department in coordination with Dubai Municipality. Moreover, restaurants and shopping centres were also prohibited from holding any events in order to avoid congestion and crowding.

The restaurants were closed, “due to its failure to comply with the precautionary controls and requirements to be followed”, which are part of the municipality's intensive and periodic campaigns, “to inspect the progress of the work in the partial opening phase”.

However, not all food outlets adhered to the new norms of social distancing and by April 28, Dubai Municipality had shut down 18 restaurants, cafeterias and food establishments for failing to adhere to the precautionary measures against coronavirus COVID-19.

The closures took place following extensive inspections by the Dubai Municipality to ensure that public safety requirements are met.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, all food establishments are required to operate with reduced occupancy of 30 per cent, in addition to placing tables at least two metres apart.

The rules also include no meetings of over five employees, no social gatherings in private places of over 10 people and staffing capacities of no more than 30 per cent.

Masks are mandatory but gloves are now optional. And while malls are allowed to stay open for 10 hours, consumers cannot stay in the premises for longer than three hours.

Disinfection in restaurants

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Food outlets are required to disinfect and clean all surfaces as part of precautionary measures against COVID-19. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai Municipality has also issued a set of guidelines to food establishments on how to properly disinfect their premises against COVID-19.

Food establishments such as restaurants and cafes are required to increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection of:

  • Cash counters and pay machines
  • Dining tables and chairs
  • Menus, touch screens and bill folders
  • Elevator switches / buttons
  • Washrooms
  • Soap and towel dispensers
  • Equipment and door handles

Hand sanitisers should be installed in different areas, and all cleaning and disinfection operations, as well the list of used disinfectants, should be documented.

Source: External Circular 5, Intensification of cleaning and disinfection process in food establishments, Health and Safety Department, Dubai Municipality