Dubai: The civic body is reminding residents to acquire permits and follow the municipality’s regulations on setting up tents during the month of Ramadan – otherwise, they will be slapped with fines and have their tents removed.

“The rules are not new and have been in effect for several years. However, we find that people continue to flout the rules and still set up Ramadan tents that are either on the pavement, block the road, in parking lots, or interfere with the electricity and water connection,” Jaber Al Ali, head of building inspection department at Dubai Municipality, told Gulf News.

According to municipality regulations, all electric lighting in the tent should be fitted at a distance of 40 centimetres away from the fabric, smoking inside tents is prohibited, and decoration works should not be made from flammable materials.

“If municipality inspectors spot tents that do not follow the rules, a warning is issued for the first two offences. If inspectors find that the violations continue upon their third inspection, the municipality will then take down the tent,” he said.

The distance between the tent and the nearest building should be at least four metres, and fire extinguishers should be within reach. As tents can be made from different materials, he pointed out that each type has a different set of requirements to fulfil according to their size and the material.

Al Ali said that tents play a large role within communities as people use the tents as a majlis where they not only eat but also invite guest speakers and discuss various social issues.

“We know how important such tents are in the community, and that is why we have set up our own tents in residential areas. The tents are visited by many on a daily basis, but the most popular ones are at Al Mamzar, Rashidiya, Jumeirah 3, and Al Sufouh,” he said.

Dawood Al Hajiri, director of Planning Department, explained that residents, companies and establishments have to first bring a letter of approval from the Civil Defence that verifies the tent’s safety requirements, before applying for a municipality permit.

“Those who obtain temporary permits for tents have to remember to clean up the area at the end of Ramdan, and not leave any materials behind,” he said.

Cooking is not permitted in any tent and Dubai Municipality will be deploying officers to inspect tents throughout the month of Ramadan. The fines range from Dh1,000 for minor offences, and can reach a maximum of Dh50,000, such as setting up a tent without a permit.

“Commercial permits for Ramadan tents are only issued to four- and five-star hotels, or development areas which have passed all the necessary fire safety tests,” said Marwan Mohammad, engineer at the Public Health and Safety Department. The commercial tents are also required to be approved first by Civil Defence.