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Covid-19: ‘Dubai entertainment ban may affect business but it’s the right move’

Dubai - Dubai Tourism has put all entertainment activities on hold until further notice.

By James Jose

Published: Sat 23 Jan 2021, 9:07 AM

Last updated: Sat 23 Jan 2021, 9:16 AM

Hotel and restaurant managers have welcomed the Dubai authorities’ decision to suspend live entertainment, saying that although it may affect footfall, “it is for the greater good”.

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) on Thursday issued a circular that put all entertainment activities — like live DJ, live band, live dancing and quiz nights — on hold until further notice.

The DTCM had, through field inspections, recorded a spike in the number of violations at some establishments in the emirate. Over the last three weeks, it closed 20 outlets and issued 200 violations.

The authority has been working hard to ensure that all stakeholders in the tourism sector comply with precautionary measures. “The department directs all concerned, in hotel establishments and restaurants, to temporarily hold entertainment activities as of Thursday, January 21, 2021, until further notice,” DTCM had said in its circular.

Ninad Mate, bar manager at one of the popular hotel franchises in Dubai, said that while there might be a reduction in patrons, suspending live entertainment was the right decision.

“It will affect business but with the cases increasing, it is better to put entertainment on hold, maybe until people get vaccinated,” said Ninad.

“With live music, people get a bit too excited and tend to drink more and end up dancing. With no music, they might consume less and will generally behave themselves. The problem is that some hotels took advantage once entertainment activities restarted and allowed guests to dance close to the stage,” he added.

His outlet used to have a band playing live every day, with a DJ spinning tunes occasionally. They continue to comply with the guidelines set by DTCM and the Dubai Municipality, with a two-metre distance and partitions between tables. Standing is not allowed, and there is no bar counter service, as per the guidelines.

“As per DTCM policy, we allow a maximum of 10 people on a table. But there are no large gatherings allowed, like birthday parties and other events. We sanitise the tables and the temperature of the glass washers are kept high, according to Dubai Municipality guidelines,” Ninad explained.

Partha Pal, food and beverage manager at another hotel, agreed that live entertainment would have to wait until the Covid situation gets better.

“It is a good decision because there are chances of people not maintaining social distancing while dancing. Entertainment can return when the cases reduce and the situation improves. It is a good precautionary measure for everyone, including guests and staff as well,” said Partha.

His hotel also hosts live DJ performances, as well as night clubs and pubs. Giving a glimpse into the safety precautions they are taking, Partha said: “The safety measures are the same as before — social distancing, ensuring all the staff members are wearing masks and gloves, and head coverings. Sanitisers are placed all around the property and easily available. We also monitor the basic hygiene standard of the staff.”

Margaret, a supervisor at a sports bar, had mixed feelings. “It is not so good and not so bad because we had regulars who dedicatedly come just for the quiz and bingo. But then, the cases are increasing and it is better to be safe than sorry. At least, for the meantime, it is good to stop all entertainment activities,” she said.

Her outlet, apart from hosting the quiz and bingo night every Monday, used to have a live Filipino band every day of the week. Apart from the table guidelines, the outlet has a sanitiser on every table.


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