COVID-19 in UAE: Fresh food markets and confectionery stores resume business after weeks of closure

By Guan Yu Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

After two weeks of closure, Dubai was the first in the emirate to reopen its fish market at Waterfront Market on April 7 ©WaterFront Market
After two weeks of closure, Dubai was the first in the emirate to reopen its fish market at Waterfront Market on April 7 ©WaterFront Market

Related tags: Middle east, Dubai, Abu dhabi, Uae, Market

UAE’s fresh food markets, food trading outlets and selected confectionery stores in shopping malls have gradually reopened, following shutdowns due to COVID-19.

Previously, UAE had called for all commercial establishments in the emirate to close for two weeks​ from March 25, which included food markets as well as commercial outlets in streets and shopping malls.

Grocery stores, supermarkets and pharmacies were allowed to remain open for 24 hours to provide daily necessities to consumers.

After two weeks of closure, Dubai was the first in the emirate to reopen its fish market at Waterfront Market on April 7 after getting permission from the authorities. It has imposed a set of rules to combat the spread of COVID-19, including installing thermal cameras, encouraging customers to wear face masks, gloves, and practice social distancing.

Its capital, Abu Dhabi reopened fish markets on April 9, although with staggered operational hours.

Food stores

On April 14, Dubai announced it was reopening food stores across the city.

In a press statement issued by Dubai’s Department of Economic Development also known as Dubai Economy, nine activities related to food trade, include meat, fruits and vegetables, roasters, mills, fish, coffee and tea trading outlets are allowed to open.

In addition, stores involved in the trading of nuts, chocolates and sweets are allowed to remain open if they are located inside shopping malls. This move came ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, which began on April 23.

Stores must apply for a permit from the government, and are allowed to operate from 8am to 8pm. All outlets must adhere to guidelines on sanitisation and social distancing. The Dubai Economy will conduct inspection campaigns to make sure that the outlets comply.

Dubai has allowed its supermarkets, cooperative societies, grocery stores and pharmacies to open 24 hours, although the number of shoppers at any time in these outlets must not exceed 30% of capacity and customers should maintain a social distance of two metres from each other.

UAE’s disinfection programme

UAE’s Ministry of Health Prevention and the Ministry of Interior began a national disinfection programme on March 26, which involved enhanced sanitisation drives in all establishments and movement restriction.

Previously, the two ministries have urged the public to stay home from 8pm to 6am unless in an emergency.

The programme which was meant to end in early April has been continued indefinitely, with round-the-clock sterilisation, and stricter restrictions on movement extended to 24 hours a day.

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