Dubai: The Al Ras and Naif districts crawled back to some sense of normalcy on Monday a day after coronavirus-related movement restrictions were lifted by the emirate’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management.
Traffic in the two neighbourhoods was seen picking up as vendors made their way back to their shops to open them for business after a three-week break.
The two areas had been placed under strict movement restrictions since March 31.
The committee’s decision to relax controls came after the government’s successful efforts to contain the virus.
According to the committee, no new COVID-19 cases were recorded over the last three days in Al Ras or Naif, resulting in the easing of restrictions.
Brigadier Tarek Tahlak, director of Naif Police station, also confirmed to Gulf News on Monday, that no new cases of COVID-19 were recorded after three days in these areas.
“Life returned back to Naif area after three days of zero cases,” he said. “Movement restrictions are now similar to other areas in Dubai from 10pm to 6am. People should follow safety measures by wearing masks, gloves and keep safe distance,” he added.
Shops open but there are concerns for future business
Juzer Nasir from Soorat, India, has a building materials company office set up in Naif district.
The last three weeks his business has been negatively impacted.
“I have issued a number of post-dated cheques (PDCs) to suppliers. I am negotiating hard for concessions with them. My landlord too has been kind enough to push a month’s rent. I am banking on receivables from my customers to bail me out,” he said.
“With respect to daily life there were not much issues,” he added. “I live with my parents, wife and child. There is a supermarket below my building. We were buying groceries for food. The government has done such a splendid job to contain the pandemic. Kudos to them. As for my business, I worry it may take time for it pick up,” he said.
Eid Gul from Afghanistan who runs a carpet shop in Naif also had fears for his business.
“Only today we opened and as you can see there is hardly anyone in the street. I’m afraid it is going to take a long time for things to look better,” said Gul, whose father opened this shop in Naif way back in the 1980s.
Gul said the average monthly net income from the shop’s sales (after paying rents and salaries) is between Dh8,000 and Dh10,000.
“Last month there was zero income. I still had to pay salaries to my staff. I have dug out from my savings for this. It has been really hard for all of us – I hope something good turns out soon.”
Rajan Kesavan, a tailor, said, in the last three weeks he has survived on the little money his employer gave him before the shops were closed.
“He gave me Dh500 and I have been managing with that. Plus the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) dropped off a kit of basic food essentials like rice, lentils etc. I have been cooking food with that. My building was locked. I never stepped out of my house and it was only to pick up some essentials. The police were constantly monitoring the buildings 24-hours. It was such a great effort by the Dubai government to curtail the virus spread,” he added.