Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: Authorities have enforced hefty penalties against malls who fail to adhere to the new precautionary measures against coronavirus COVID-19.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED) announced that shopping malls will be slapped with a Dh3,000 for the first offence, Dh6,000 for the second offence, in addition to Dh8,000 and Dh10,000 for the third and fourth offences respectively. Shopping malls will then be closed for any further violations.

The harsh penalties swiftly came after the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) and the National Emergency Crisis, Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) stated that people over the age of 60 and children younger than 12 are prohibited from entering shopping malls, cooperative societies, and supermarkets. These precautions were made in order to ensure the health and safety of high-risk groups.

Malls in Abu Dhabi were allowed to start opening their premises as of May 1 as long as preventive measures against coronavirus were in place.

Shoppers in a Dubai mall wear face masks and practice social distancing as part of precautionary measures to prevent spread of COVID-19. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/ Gulf News

In a circular, the Abu Dhabi DED directed managers and owners of shopping malls to install thermal scanners at the main entrances of their facilities while also connecting the cameras to NCEMA’s system on a rental basis.

The new directives also emphasised that shoppers and mall-goers cannot visit shopping centres for more than two hours, which is in line with authorities’ aim to reduce the overcrowding of shoppers inside malls. Malls have been granted permission to operate at a maximum of only 30 per cent its capacity.

Abu Dhabi DED noted that the latest measures aim to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, and is part of the implementation process of the NCEMA’s directives to curb the impact of COVID-19 in Abu Dhabi.