Coronavirus Pandemic

UAE mask rules eased: Residents pledge to keep guards up

SM Ayaz Zakir/Dubai
Filed on September 22, 2021 | Last updated on September 23, 2021 at 10.43 am
KT file photo

Some say they will continue wearing masks even in places where it's no longer required.

As the UAE eases face mask restrictions, residents pledge to keep their guards up and help others stay Covid-safe — even if they’re on the running track, on the beach and inside salons.

The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) on Wednesday announced certain instances and public places where masks are no longer mandatory. These include: when exercising in public places; when members of the same household are travelling in a private vehicle; at swimming pools and beaches; in closed places when you are alone; at salons and beauty centres; and at medical centres.

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For fitness enthusiast Athar Malpa, the decision comes as a relief.

“Working out and jogging while masked up had been a concern for me. I wasn’t quite satisfied with my fitness routine all the while and now slowly life will be back to normal,” said Malpa, who works at Yalla Insurance.

Jennifer Chalouhi, a Lebanese expat and personal trainer, said removing masks could give people ‘freedom of movement’ and ‘more oxygen to the muscles’ while working out.


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“It is also our responsibility to enter any facility in perfect health with no fever or cold. If there is anything we have learnt during Covid, it is that the virus spreads fast and it is our duty to continue to keep ourselves and everyone else around us safe,” Chalouhi said.

Chalouhi agreed that covering one’s nose and mouth is a challenge when it comes to fitness routines. “The mask can sometimes create symptoms like shortness of breath or dizziness. Not having to wear it will be welcoming for many fitness enthusiasts and others to enjoy their workouts more, as long as all Covid protocols continue to be followed,”

Asad Sattar, an Iranian businessman in Dubai, goes to the beach with his family very often — and they can’t wait for their next day out.

“This has come as a relief for me as we spend family time on the shore....Now that we can remove our masks on the beach, we will be maintaining physical distancing with others,” Sattar said.

Masks are also no longer required for individuals walking into salons and beauty centres.

Raju, a hair stylist and a barber at a salon in Deira, pledged to take all the Covid-19 precautionary measures to keep his clients safe. “The safety of my clients will be my priority, so I will still stay masked up and will keep a sanitiser with me.”

“We have a very close physical interaction and it is important for me to be safe first,” he added.

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