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Abu Dhabi and Dubai prepare to reopen malls with new rules

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Abu Dhabi and Dubai have announced preparations to reopen malls and shopping centers, issuing guidelines on Thursday for business owners and shoppers.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai prepare to reopen malls with new rules

However, Dubai Economy has asked businesses to be on ‘standby’ for official announcements on the date of reopening and timings.

Dubai Economy and has emphasised that as part of gradual reopening of retail businesses, shopping centres and high street locations will have to maintain 30 percent occupancy in common and gross leasable areas, while 75 percent of mall parking will remain closed. F&B outlets will have to reduce seating arrangements to 30 percent and maintain a six-feet distance between tables. Similarly, stores will have to indicate the maximum number of people allowed inside, maintaining a distance of four feet. Social distancing of two feet will have to be maintained.

While shopping centres will be allowed to operate for 10 hours, consumer visiting hours will be capped at three. During the first phase of reopening, entertainment centres, cinemas as well as prayer rooms and public seating will remain closed.

In terms of health and safety measures, the shopping centres will have to ensure strict sanitisation and sterilisation of the space, while installing hand sanitisation stations. Mall employees and visitors will have to undergo temperature check at the entrance, in addition to wearing gloves and face masks. Establishments are also encouraging digital payment methods, although cash is acceptable.

Some of the guidelines for reopening by Dubai economy include –

– 24 hour mall sanitisation: Clean all the common areas of the mall premises included toilets cleaned after each use and entrance areas sterilised
– Entrance health checks: Ensure that anyone entering the mall including staff, visitors and contractors undergo mandated temperature screening and checks
– Restricted access: Elderly above 60 years old and children between the ages of 3-12 years are not permitted to enter
– Open all mall entry points: Malls must open all entry points to avoid crowding at entrances since visitors must do health checks which could lead to long queues
– Provision of masks and hand sanitisers: All visitors are mandated to wear masks at all times in the mall from entry. Non compliance will lead to denial to enter mall. Hand sanitisers to be installed
– Mandatory isolation rooms: Have a small dedicated area on site to isolate potential positive cases
– Sanitisation for each item after each trial: No testing will be allowed for personal care items and retailers are not allowed to implement ‘No Return Policy’ for sale of personal items
– Food court and F&B outlets distancing compliance: Ensure F&B outlets can host 30 per cent of the capacity with two metre distance between tables – including the food courts- to enable physical distancing
– Promote smart payments as preferred method
– Prohibit sales and promotional activities: Neither mall management nor retailers are allowed to hold sales and promotions to avoid crowd management within a store

Dubai Economy also said that mall management is “encouraged” to make retailers pay rental for the lease areas based on a pro-rata charge for the number of hours the store stays open instead of a full day rental. If retailers have to renew their lease, there should be no increase on rent after renewal, it added.

Guidelines and precautionary measures issued by The Department of Economic Development of Abu Dhabi:-

– Working hours will be from 12:00 pm – 09:00 pm
– Restrictions of commercial activities and services apply to gyms, cinemas, entertainment venues
– Mall capacity shall not exceed 30 percent and no entry for seniors above 60 years old
– F&B outlets will operate at 30 percent seating capacity, maximum 4 people per table with minimum 2.5 m distance between tables

Mall Measures:-
– Masks and gloves are mandatory for all visitors
– Bringing your own bags is preferable
– Car Parking Management: Limit parking capacity to 50 percent by marking parking spots
– Only 3 people permitted per car
– No valet parking or car wash services
– Separate entrances and exits
– Crowd management and installation of sanitizing and thermal screening at all entrances
– Deny entry to anyone recording above 38C
– Regular sanitization throughout the mall including all touchpoints and escalators
– Encourage cashless payment methods
– Lifts will restricted to people of determination with 2 people capacity
– Floor and escalators marking to ensure social distancing
– All touch screens must be disabled
– Paramedics to be available throughout mall trading hours

Tenant Measures:-
– Mandatory use of masks and gloves for staff
– Testing of all staff for before mall re-opening
– Staff temperature checking during mall entry and regular monitoring throughout trading hours
– Daily and regular store sanitization
– Store capacity to not exceed one customer per 5 sqm
– Encourage cashless transactions
– No refunds or exchanges permitted
– Sanitization of trolleys before and after every use
– Restriction of product testing such as make up, shoe trials, perfumes and total closure of trial rooms
– Daily restaurant sanitization includeing tables and seats after every use
– Only disposable utensils with take away packaging
– Availability of sanitizers at every counter
– Salons limited to hair and nail services only by appointment with no waiting areas and implementing social distancing measures

The malls in Abu Dhabi will only be open to the public between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m., and in Dubai, malls will be open for no more than 10 hours per day. In Dubai, entry will also be barred for children between the ages of 2 and 13.

“Once the reopening is announced, businesses can reopen after they have complied with the guidelines & protocols and ready to receive customers/resume operations,” the circular released by the Government of Dubai read, adding: “All businesses must be on standby for official announcements on the date of reopening and timings (to be announced shortly).”