Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid in UAE: You could be fined for not wearing masks where it’s mandatory

Sahim Salim /Dubai Filed on September 23, 2021

(KT file)

Authorities recently identified six public places, instances where masks are not mandatory.

Mask rules in the UAE were eased for the first time on Wednesday, September 22, since they were introduced 18 months ago.

Authorities have identified six public places and instances where masks are not mandatory.

These are: When exercising in public places; when members of the same household are travelling in their private vehicles; at beaches and swimming pools; when alone in closed places; at salons or beauty centres; and at medical centres.

The mandatory mask rule, however, is still in effect in the UAE at all other public places.

This means that those who don’t remain masked in places where it is mandatory will be fined. As per the latest list of fines issued by authorities in the UAE last month, the fine for this offence is Dh3,000.

Additionally, people must continue to maintain a social distance of at least two metres – even in areas where masks are no longer required. The fine for not doing this is Dh3,000.

Cases down from 3,000-odd to 300

The easing of mask rules is the latest in a series of new announcements made in the UAE as daily cases dip to record lows.

Covid-19 infections were down by 62 per cent in August as compared to January this year, a top official had said. Daily cases are hovering around the 300 mark this month – a far cry from January, when it almost hit 4,000 (3,962 on January 29).

Restoring normalcy

The low number of daily cases and high vaccination rates have helped the UAE ease the stringent Covid safety measures it had introduced to contain the virus.

The UAE is on the threshold of achieving herd immunity, with over 92 per cent residents having received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, and over 81 per cent fully vaccinated.

Capacity at shopping malls, cinemas and eateries in the UAE was increased to 80 per cent last month. Hotels are operating at full capacity.

However, experts have cautioned residents to not drop their guards yet.

"Community coherence is currently essential, and we all must adhere to relevant precautionary measures. We have returned to workplaces, our children have returned to schools, and the capacities of businesses have increased, proving the country’s strategic balance succeeded in reaching the recovery period. We appreciate your commitment and sense of awareness, and we urge you to continue supporting the country's efforts to contain the virus," Dr. Farida Al Hosani, the official spokesperson for the UAE Health Sector, had said earlier.

Sahim Salim

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