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The New Arab

UAE reopens malls, shops despite rise in coronavirus cases

The UAE has enacted tough social distancing measures over the past two months [Getty]1

Date of publication: 3 June, 2020

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The UAE is continuing to ease coronavirus restrictions despite the disease continuing to spread.
Malls and shops in the UAE are ready to return to "100 percent capacity", local media reported on Wednesday, after weeks of lockdowns were enacted to stop the spread of Covid-19 but with a devastating impact on local business.

The Gulf state has slowly re-opened its retail and service sectors after curfews had a devastating effect on the economy.

On Tuesday, the UAE government sent a notice to malls allowing to return to normal with tenants expected to ease restrictions this week.

Social distancing measures will still be in place, such as two metre spaces in queues, but there are fears about the easing of restrictions when coronavirus cases continue to rise.

The UAE announced a rise in 596 new cases reported on Tuesday and three Covid-related deaths.

Malls were opened at 30 percent capacity during Ramadan, then 70 percent during Eid, and now at 100 percent in a bid to spur growth.

"Single-store retailers haven't seen much happening – we are hopeful of some improvement now that Dubai has allowed 100 percent capacity back at malls," a retail industry source told Gulf News.

"Over the last three weeks, single-store outlets have mostly been doing 20-50 percent of what used to be normal… mostly 20 percent."

Around 70 percent of Dubai businesses have said they predict to go out of business in the next six months, due to coronavirus lockdowns and low oil prices.

Thousands of expatriates have been laid off and left the UAE due to falls in revenues with potentially serious implications for the Gulf state's diversification plans.

The UAE has seen a total of 35,788 cases of Covid-19 and 269 deaths from the disease.

Abu Dhabi was sealed off on Sunday for a week and travel between emirates restricted in a bid to stop the spread of the disease.


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