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Ramadan Dubai 2021: Food outlet owners hail 'no screen' rule

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on April 12, 2021
Reuters file photo.

Eateries don't need to cover dining areas from public view, Dubai Economy says.


Food outlets and restaurants across the emirate have hailed the unprecedented new rules introduced by the Dubai Economy, which allow them to serve food during the holy month of Ramadan, which starts on April 13, without putting up screens or curtains.

On Sunday, the Department of Economic Development (DED), or the Dubai Economy, announced that eateries were no longer required to put up screens and curtains to cover the dining areas from public view during the fasting hours that appear to be upwards of 14 hours this year between sunrise and sunset.

The Dubai Economy’s reforms, which have been in keeping with the emirate’s rapid reforms with each Ramadan, has allowed the owners of eateries, restaurants and food outlets to run their businesses “as usual” during the Holy month of Ramadan.

Earlier, food establishments were mandated to pay Dh5,000 and obtain a fresh permit every Ramadan to serve and deliver edibles during the fasting hours in Dubai, which have been done away with from this year.

Hricha Saraf, partner at a Bollywood themed restaurant Bol Gappa, exuded happiness and relief at the Dubai Economy’s path-breaking move.

“It’s welcoming news for our line of business. It shall be business as usual. The Dubai government has been supportive since the Covid-19 pandemic struck. It reduced fees and, in some cases, also announced a 100 per cent fee waiver. The smaller food outlets will benefit from this relief, as payment of an additional Dh5,000 could have been a major financial challenge owing to the contagion. The government is pulling out all stops to support the small businesses. Besides, the new rule, which will kick in from this year, will allow more visibility and footfall during non-fasting hours.”

Anmol Mehta, Managing Partner at Little Italy Ristorante, hailed Dubai as an epitome of tolerance on lines of the UAE’s tolerant outlook. The nation had celebrated 2019 as the Year of Tolerance.

“A dirham saved is a dirham earned since the viral outbreak struck. The emirate’s wise and visionary leadership has taken a momentous decision, much to the welcome relief of the hospitality sector. It has instilled a sense of trust and appreciation towards the government, which is a further testimony of ease of doing business in Dubai. The move will encourage our non-fasting patrons. This makes all Dubai residents enjoy an even stronger bond with the emirate, which we call home away from home,” Mehta said.

Mehta’s facility has an outdoor seating arrangement where food can be served, but he plans to refrain from catering to his customers in keeping with the religious sanctity of the Holy month.

“We’ll make sure that we follow all norms to show our respect towards everybody’s religious faiths,” he added.

Muhammad Khalid, founder of the Shisheo Group that has a shisha and dessert lounge in Dubai Marina, echoed similar sentiments.

“I’ve been living in the UAE for a couple of years. The Covid-19 pandemic has roiled several businesses. In that light, the gesture is encouraging and will go a long way to allay the concerns of people linked to the hospitality sector. We’ll comply with all rules.

The UAE has been revolutionary in its Covid-19 prevention measures. The new rules are likely to benefit many and give a fillip to the sector and help its revival,” he said.

Sanjay Vazirani, chairman-cum-managing director (CMD), Foodlink Global Restaurants & Catering Services LLC, agreed with Khalid.

“The decision could have been more opportune for the Dubai government. The permit fee waiver is a huge relief. It’ll help new businesses like ours. We’re proud of the ecosystem,” said Vazirani.

The Dubai Municipality authorities revised the latest guidelines during Ramadan for restaurants, cafes, shisha cafes and hotels last week and had instructed venues to close by 4am. Food outlets in the emirate have been urged to take orders till 3am during Ramadan, the civic authorities’ latest tweet revealed.

The Abu Municipality authorities have also announced that no curtains or hoardings would be required for restaurants and food outlets in the country's largest emirate this Ramadan.

saman@khaleejtimes.com





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