For the first time in 18 months, cinemas, shopping malls and other venues and entertainment venues across the UAE can return to full capacity from today.
Restrictions were first announced in early 2020 due to Covid-19. Over the past year, there has been a slow easing of the rules as the number of cases stabilized in the Emirates.
Earlier this month, after announcing the imminent lifting of capacity limits, the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (Ncema), said there was no change in the use of masks, which are required by law in all indoor and outdoor public places in the country.
Additionally, it is up to each emirate to set its own capacity limits and waive or modify the rules as it sees fit.
Right here, The National explains where the biggest changes will be seen.
Under the new rules, cinemas can now use all seats in a theater for the first time since the World Health Organization declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic.
From today, cinemas can remove cardboard cutouts placed on seats that were used to ensure social distancing.
Thus, viewers may find themselves seated directly next to another person.
Visitors are not required to show proof of vaccination or green status on the Al Hosn app, but if management asks to see proof, visitors must comply. Wearing a mask is also mandatory at all times.
So the next time you visit to see this latest blockbuster, you’re likely to sit side-by-side with people who aren’t in your party, once again marking the long-awaited return of the true cinematic experience.
As with cinemas, all seats in a sports stadium are now open to spectators.
Previously, venues used tape or cardboard cutouts to limit crowds in the stands and ban seating.
The UAE Football Association said entry will only be allowed to people aged 12 and over who have a green status on the Al Hosn app.
Spectators must also provide proof that they have received a negative PCR test result within the last 96 hours and a mask must be worn at all times.
Social distancing in mosques and other places of worship is now reduced to one meter.
Ncema will closely monitor the situation throughout February and said it would maintain or cancel social distancing between worshipers depending on the application of the new rules.
Make sure you have the Al Hosn app
The Al Hosn app was originally designed to track and trace contacts with Covid-19 cases, but its remit has expanded to support the country’s national vaccination campaign.
The app allows the user to show proof of a recent coronavirus vaccine or test.
While few locations in Dubai use the app, Abu Dhabi uses it to access many public places and buildings. Some of the Northern Emirates use the app to access events.
Green status can be achieved by fully vaccinated people who have received two doses of any Covid-19 vaccine approved in the UAE.
It takes a booster shot six months after a second shot to stay active.
A PCR test performed every 14 days maintains the green status.
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Updated: February 15, 2022, 7:14 a.m.