Covid-19: Abu Dhabi reduces capacity cap for restaurants, cafes and parks

KT file photo by Ryan Lim
KT file photo by Ryan Lim

Abu Dhabi - The new norms will be implemented from Monday onwards.

By Ashwani Kumar

Published: Fri 16 Jul 2021, 12:50 PM

Last updated: Fri 16 Jul 2021, 5:09 PM

Local authorities in Abu Dhabi have introduced new capacity caps for restaurants, coffee shops and public transport as a strategy to combat the next stage of the Covid pandemic.

In a series of tweets on Thursday night, the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee said that from Monday restaurants, cafes, public beaches and parks can have a maximum of 50 per cent capacity. In February, the occupancy limit was set at 60 per cent.

Covid-19: New entry rules, updated capacity, movement restrictions in Abu Dhabi

Restaurant managers welcomed the decision taken as precautionary measures during the public holidays.

“We are aware of the announcement through the media reports. The capacity norms were up 80 per cent the same time last year, then dropped to 60 per cent after the New Year celebrations and now to 50 per cent. We were looking forward to a good collection from next week. However, health and safety are more important,” said a restaurant manager at a shopping centre.

The other restriction will be implemented in public transport buses with capacity reduced from 75 per cent to 50 per cent. Already, alternate seating arrangement is followed in buses with a fine of Dh3,000 for sitting on such marked seats. Transport authorities will also deploy additional 100 daily trips on main routes to meet the public demand and avoid crowding inside the bus.

Also, a maximum of 3 passengers will be allowed in a five-passenger taxi and 4 passengers in a seven-passenger taxi. Earlier, taxis were operating at 45 per cent capacity.

However, the caps for shopping malls (40 per cent), cinemas (30 per cent), and private beaches, swimming pools and gyms (50 per cent) remain similar to the previously issued order.

Meanwhile, mall managers said there was an unusual drop in weekend footfalls.

“Our normal crowd was missing in morning and afternoon hours. It could be partly because of the flurry of new announcements or the fact that we witnessed more shoppers on Thursday evening. We will know the trend in the coming days,” a mall manager noted.

The new norms will be implemented from Monday as the six-day public holiday to mark Eid Al Adha starts.

Additionally, the national sterilisation programme will be launched, and residents have been urged to stay home from midnight till 5 am. However, people can go out by getting a movement permit from Abu Dhabi Police.

Also, new restrictions will be in place at the border with entry allowed only to those within 48 hours of receiving a negative PCR test result and 24 hours of receiving a negative DPI one. They must also take another PCR test on days four and eight after entry.

The Committee noted that such measures were taken to tackle the next stage of the pandemic, ensure continuous testing and to protect public health and prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Earlier this week, the local authorities said that community members must follow all precautionary measures as there has been a significant rise in new infections and deaths after the last three public holidays.

More news from coronavirus