Residents are still required to wear face masks and practice social distance.

By Cailey Rizzo
May 27, 2020
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Dubai will begin a gradual reopening on Wednesday, permitting businesses like cinemas, gyms, and education centers to reopen for the first time since the end of March.

The emirate’s slow reopening will focus on maintaining “stringent precautionary and preventive measures” like social distancing measures and the wearing of face masks, according to a media release. Public spaces will be managed to prevent crowding and residents will receive new guidelines on social customs and behaviors in the age of COVID-19, particularly in regard to family visits.

The businesses that are allowed to reopen will be required to enforce social distancing and face mask rules and children younger than 12 will not be permitted to enter the premises. Businesses and individuals who do not follow the rules are subject to a fine.

The city's curfew has also been extended from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. and lasts until 6 a.m.

“We are aware of the pressures many sectors are facing because of the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Crown Prince Hamdan bin Mohammed said. “We have all the elements necessary to adapt to these challenging circumstances. I am confident that all members of the society will come together to overcome this crisis as soon as possible.”

Restaurants that have been permitted to reopen can only operate at 30 percent capacity and must maintain six feet between tables, according to Arabian Business.

Credit: KARIM SAHIB/Getty

When the lockdown was at its most strict, all residents were urged to stay at home and only leave to purchase food or medicine or to perform an essential job. Everyone was required to carry a permit for any time they left their homes, according to Business Insider. Those who flouted the rules were subject to imprisonment or a fine up to about $272,000 (1 million dirham).

The United Arab Emirates have reported a total of 31,086 cases of coronavirus and 253 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The city began easing its lockdown rules at the end of April, still requiring everyone to wear a mask and limit the number of people in gatherings. Select businesses were allowed to open at limited capacity and citizens could be in public during daytime hours.

Dubai-based airline Emirates will also introduce new safety procedures, both on aircraft and at Dubai International Airport. A cabin crew member onboard every flight will be responsible for cleaning and disinfecting the bathrooms every 45 minutes. And passengers should prepare to wear face masks while they’re at the airport, even if they’re only making a connection.