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Coronavirus Pandemic

Reopening responsibly: UAE residents excited to get back to offices, 'normal' lives Filed on June 3, 2020 | Last updated on June 3, 2020 at 05.45 pm
Combating coronavirus, Dubai, covid19, UAE residents, excited, offices, normal lives

(Photo by Ryan Lim/Khaleej Times)

Residents expressed delight at being able to resume 'normal' routines again.

Dubai residents have welcomed the directive to allow shopping malls and private sector businesses to operate at 100 per cent starting today. While many said the recent restrictions were "more or less manageable", they expressed delight at being able to resume 'normal' routines again.

Dutch resident Matthijs Stinnissen said he wasn't surprised that the city was going back to 100 per cent. The head chef at BOCA restaurant in DIFC said: "There's a lot of faith in the UAE leadership because of how they handled the situation.

"Everyone on our staff is ready to get back to work, too, but we don't want to occupy our space to maximum capacity unnecessarily. We'll see how it goes tomorrow, and if the response is positive, we'll go up to full occupancy again."

He believes residents should be responsible and make the transition gradually. "I don't think it will be wise to understand this move as freedom to go to five different places and five groups of people in one day. I understand sitting at home means the desire to get back to routine activities again will be tempting, but the best advice right now is to not be impulsive."

For Thalia Salonga, it's going to be the little things that she can't wait to get back to again. "Even going back to work will be a refreshing change of scene."

She, too, believes adhering to social distancing rules will be imperative to maintain community health as it transitions to functioning at pre-pandemic levels.

"I'd say we still need to take it easy, and continue to follow all safety measures like wearing masks and keeping safe distances," she said. "Just because everything is going back to normal doesn't mean we should forget that Covid-19 still exists," said the Filipino expat.

Husain Roomi, co-founder of H2R Design, believes it's up to business owners to ensure that the correct measures are implemented and practised at work.

"We plan to keep a distance of two metres between work stations, and at meeting rooms, and even suggesting this is implemented in the projects we design," said the Iraqi-British expat. "We have even thought of placing a buzzer in the studio to remind everyone to wash their hands. If we all adhere to these measures, it will go a long way towards making sure we commit to being responsible."

For restaurateurs like Tania Lodi, being responsible has taken on new meaning, as she has been at the forefront of advocating for supporting local businesses during the pandemic.

"I'm delighted beyond words to hear Dubai will be going back to 100 per cent," said the American-Pakistani expat. "I'm excited to see what the new normal is. Supporting local businesses has become something I've taken on since the pandemic began. So I'll be looking for more ways to collaborate with other F&Bs to achieve that."

Morgan Venison, founder of a creative consultancy, has first-hand experience of what it means to fall ill with an infection when she least expected it. "I recently suffered a bout of encephalitis, so ever since I don't have an 'It won't happen to me' view to life. I'm constantly advocating masks and hand-washing in all my groups, and I think it will be important to keep doing that."

The English-Irish expat believes Dubai has managed the pandemic really well from the start, so that makes it easier to trust what they're doing. "I also have older parents living here, so for their sakes especially, I'm fully aware of the need to continue taking the pandemic seriously and be cautious at all times."

Fitness trainer Andrei Robu noted that the coronavirus can only be beaten if the community works together to stay safe. "It was a bit difficult to stay at home for so long, but it was the responsible thing to do if we wanted to flatten the curve," said the Moldovan-Romanian.

"It's great to hear we can resume our lives and careers again. It opens up new possibilities again, so that's exciting. But everyone should be individually responsible, because when we do that, we not only protect ourselves, but also the community at large." 


Karen Ann Monsy

A ‘Dubai child’, Karen has been writing for magazines for close to a decade. She covers trends, community, social issues and human interest features. Whether it’s overcoming disability, breaking stereotypes or simply relating the triumphs of everyday lives, she seeks out those stories that can uplift, encourage and inspire. You can find her favourite work at

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