Covid-19 in UAE: Dubai closes cinemas, gyms, parks
Dubai - Entertainment destinations have been temporarily closed in parts of the country.
In line with ongoing efforts to safeguard public health, Dubai Department of Economic Development has directed all cinemas, theme parks, amusement and electronic game centres, bodybuilding/fitness gyms and spring camps licensed in Dubai to halt all their activities and services until end of March 2020.
The directives were given in a circular tweeted on Sunday:
Cinemas across Dubai suspended operations on Sunday amid orders from authorities on Saturday to temporarily close major tourist spots, including theme parks and cultural sites, in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ajman.
Entertainment destinations have been temporarily closed for this month as a preventive measure against Covid-19, authorities announced on Saturday.
"In line with precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of visitors, Abu Dhabi's major tourist attractions, theme parks and cultural destinations will be closed from March 15 to 31 to limit large gatherings and protect public health in response to Covid-19," said the Abu Dhabi Government Media Office.
Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing cancelled all events in Dubai - hosted by hotels and entertainment destinations - starting from March 15.
In line with the orders, Dubai's major cinema chains said they had temporarily closed until further notice.
Residents were welcomed with a blank screen as they looked for showtimes for today.
Vox Cinemas confirmed closure of its cinemas in a brief statement to Khaleej Times:
"Hello, we are temporarily closed and awaiting a formal circular from authorities. Please stay tuned for updates on our official Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter."
Emaar's Reel cinemas posted this notice on its site after suspending all movie shows.
While Novo cinemas confirmed that it was business as usual, the website did not display show timings for today.
'Business is as usual. You can book your favorite movie on our website or the mobile app,' a Novo representative confirmed to Khaleej Times on Facebook.
Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen, CEO of Novo Cinemas stated, "As per the circular received from the Abu Dhabi government over the weekend we have quickly acted and closed operations in our two locations in the Emirate. Our other locations remain open as usual and follow strict hygiene protocols as the safety and wellbeing of our cinema guests is our top priority. Novo Cinemas in other Emirates will remain open until otherwise informed by the government."
The move follows the postponement of two Bollywood releases - Yash Raj Films' 'Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar' directed by Dibankar Baneerjee and starring Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra, that was expected to release this weekend in the UAE.
In a statement on Twitter the film house had announced the outbreak of Coronavirus in India as the cause behind the delay in the film's release.
Earlier Rohit Shetty had also pushed the release of the highly anticipated Sooryavanshi, that was slated to hit theatres on March 24, citing the same reasons. With theatres shut in Kerala as well and many Malayalam cinema releases put on hold, it is going to be a bleak time for cinema lovers in the country. But like they say, safety comes first and the UAE's attempt to contain the spread of the virus is to be lauded.