New measures to curb the “second wave” of COVID-19 cases have been introduced by the Dubai Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management (the Dubai Committee) and the Abu Dhabi Emergency Crisis and Disasters Committee for COVID-19 Pandemic (the Abu Dhabi Committee).

On 1 February, the Dubai Committee announced that, effective the following day and for the duration of the month of February, all pubs and bars in Dubai must close, while restaurants and cafes must close by 1:00 am. Shopping malls, hotels, private beaches in hotels and swimming pools may operate at 70% capacity. Theatres, other indoor venues and sports venues must operate at a maximum capacity of 50%. Entertainment activities in restaurants and cafes are no longer permitted.

The Dubai Committee has urged the public to report violations by calling the Dubai Police or by using the Dubai Police App. There have been reports of recent prosecutions for violations, including the imposition of fines.

On 7 February, the Abu Dhabi Committee announced that, effective the same day and until further notice, parties and gatherings are prohibited and theatres shall be closed. No more than 10 persons may attend a marriage ceremony or a family gathering, and no more than 20 may attend a funeral or mourning service.

Malls are limited to 40% capacity, and gyms, private beaches and swimming pools are limited to 50% capacity. Restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, public beaches and parks may operate at 60% capacity. Taxis and buses may operate at 45% and 75% capacity, respectively.

The Abu Dhabi Committee also announced new rules on entry into the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, effective 1 February. Any individual entering Abu Dhabi from another Emirate must enter Abu Dhabi within 24 hours of taking the DPI (Diffractive Phase Interferometry) test instead of 48 hours. The same DPI test result cannot be used for two consecutive entries into Abu Dhabi. Those who entered Abu Dhabi on the basis of a DPI test and who plan to continue their stay for more than 48 hours must take a PCR test on 3rd day following entry and another PCR test on the 7th day.

The validity of the PCR test result to enter Abu Dhabi continues to be 48 hours; however, another PCR test must be performed on the 4th day and on the 8th day following entry. The day of entry into Abu Dhabi is considered as day 1. These requirements are not applicable to volunteers in clinical trials or to persons who have been vaccinated.

Moreover, all employers in Abu Dhabi have been directed to require their personnel who have not been vaccinated to undergo a PCR test at least once a week.

In addition, Abu Dhabi has updated the “green list” of countries for travelers arriving by air. The new “green list” as of 7 February 2021 is:

  • Australia
  • Bhutan
  • Brunei
  • China
  • Greenland
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • Mauritius
  • Mongolia
  • New Zealand
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore

Individuals travelling from these countries are not required to quarantine upon arrival; however, they must perform a PCR test on arrival and repeat another PCR test on day 6 following arrival. Persons arriving from other countries as must quarantine for 10 days following arrival and must also take a PCR test on arrival and again on day 8 following arrival.

Finally, Ministerial Resolution 21 of 2021, promulgated by the Federal Minister of Health and Prevention and effective 7 February 2021, provides that PCR tests will be given free of cost at all Ministry centers. The provision applies to all UAE nationals and all persons holding UAE visas. ■