Covid-19: Dubai cafes offer free food, drink to healthcare workers
Dubai - "This is our way of expressing our solidarity and saying thank you," said the founders of Bhaijaans Biryani.
By Saman Haziq
Published: Mon 23 Mar 2020, 2:00 PM
Last updated: Mon 23 Mar 2020, 4:19 PM
While the world cheered from the balconies and windows to show their support and appreciation for the healthcare heroes treating Covid-19 patients, some Dubai restaurants and cafes are contributing in their own 'sweet' and 'savoury' ways.
Pakistani restaurant Bhaijaans Biryani launched a new initiative on Monday offering free meals to healthcare workers, who are braving the deadly disease and fearlessly providing essential services during this pandemic.
The restaurant, located in the heart of Deira, announced on all its social media platforms: "Following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), most people retreated into their homes to decrease their chances of infection. Essential healthcare workers, however, have done the opposite, remaining in the line of fire as they attempt to heal the sick and control the spread of the disease. Bhaijaans Biryani Restaurant will be offering free meals to all health officials in UAE - the real heroes of the country. Let's all pray for people who are infected with Covid-19 or facing quarantine."
The animated poster along with the post shows a masked healthcare worker dressed in a white lab coat along with a cape (indicating him or her in the form of a superhero) fighting a huge virus shape. The poster reads: "Dear UAE health officials (all doctors and nurses), your meal is on us from today. Get your free meal at Bhaijaans Biryani. Thank you for everything you are doing. You are our real heroes. Salute to all DHA, Mohap, Seha employees."
Speaking to Khaleej Times, one of the founders of the restaurant, Omar Farooq, said: "Today is the Pakistan Resolution Day and on this special day we wanted to do something positive to serve our community here in the UAE, a country that has done so much for us expatriates. This is our way of expressing our solidarity and saying thank you to these men and women working in the healthcare sector."
The restaurant, that is themed on Indo-Pak friendship and serves Hyderabadi biryani, is offering free delivery as well as allowing healthcare workers to come and pick up their standard pack that comprises their best biryani.
"Although we are Pakistani owners, we are all ardent fans of Bollywood hero Salman Khan, which is why our restaurant as well as our biryanis are all named after the different characters the famous Khan has played. We specialise in certain types of biryanis, which is why we have only selected our best - chicken, mutton and vegetable - biryanis to be offered to the health workers as they deserve nothing but the best."
Farooq, who has been running the restaurant along with his partner Adeel Qaiser Abbasi since 2019, said they got inspired by seeing their community association, Pakistan Association Dubai, build a not-for-profit Pakistan Medical Centre, which will soon open its doors to people of all communities seeking medical treatment.
"We have many hospitals in the vicinity of the restaurant and we know that many of the healthcare workers have to now put in extra hours and efforts to help save lives, these include not only doctors but lab technicians, assistants, nurses. We do not use frozen food in our menu including mutton, chicken as we do not compromise on the quality of our food and want to serve everything fresh."
Announcing a similar initiative, Starbucks stores across the country also are offering a cup of free tall coffee to all healthcare workers everyday. The coffee chain posted on its social media platforms: "To all our frontliners at hospitals and clinics, we thank you for all your hard work in keeping us safe. As a token of appreciation, enjoy one selected tall hot coffee daily, on us. We're in this together."
Healthcare workers looking to avail this offer need to present their medical ID card.