Dubai: Dining areas in Dubai may not have to be screened off in the daytime this Ramadan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, outdoor dining and shisha services are still banned during the fasting hours, authorities have clarified to Gulf News.
Dubai Economy had recently announced that there is no need for a special permit for restaurants to serve food during the fasting hours in Ramadan this year and also left it to the eateries to decide if they want the dining areas covered from public view, a move welcomed by the hospitality sector.
However, this had led to confusion regarding outdoor dining.
There are restaurants that serve food along the beaches and on terraces. Additionally, many restaurants have outside seating. Questions were raised if these restaurants are allowed to serve food outside their walled premises — out in the open — during fasting hours in Ramadan.
Senior officials at Dubai Economy and Dubai Municipality have clarified to Gulf News that outdoor dining at eateries continue to be banned during fasting hours in Ramadan. “Outdoor seating is not allowed during fasting hours. Delivery of food can be continued as usual,” said a spokesperson of Dubai Economy.
Eateries are not allowed to display food outside their premises as well. However, it is still allowed to serve food outside the walled premises of the food establishments during fasting hours in exceptional cases.
Sultan Ali Al Taher, head of Food Inspection at the Food Safety Department in Dubai Municipality said dining is allowed in private beach areas if the food is served on the premises of the hotels. “Restaurants in hotels are allowed to serve food in outdoor seating areas.”
The officials said inspecting people eating in public areas does not come under the jurisdiction of both the authorities. “It is not the municipality inspectors’ job to check if people are having food in public areas during fasting hours. It is also not their duty to find out if people are fasting or to make sure if one was supposed to be fasting or not,” Al Taher added.
He said the shisha services in all commercial outlets have been banned during the day in Ramadan. “It is not allowed to serve shisha during the fasting hours at any establishment. It is not allowed even in hotel restaurants,” he clarified.
Shisha can be served only after iftar and until 4am. As per the municipality’s Ramadan rule in Dubai eateries, the last order for the day can be taken only till 3am. This is applicable in the case of shisha cafés also, Al Taher added.