From September 28, the Emirates will ease several precautionary measures, including doubling the validity of the Green pass to 30 days
Malls, supermarkets, hotels and restaurants look forward to safely hosting customers without masks from Wednesday. Meanwhile, the announcement on Covid-19 curbs has already resulted in increased enquiries for reservations at restaurants and private events.
From September 28, the local authorities will ease several Covid-19 precautionary measures, including doubling the validity of the Green pass to 30 days, making masks optional in most public places and reducing the isolation period to five days.
Establishment operators noted that they would continue with the existing preventive measures, including the requirement of a valid Green Pass on Al Hosn app to gain entry.
“The further easing of restrictions marks a major step on the road to recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. We are optimistic that the measures announced by the local authorities will positively impact the economy,” said V. Nandakumar, Director of Marketing and Communications, Lulu Group, which operates around 100 hypermarkets and shopping malls in the UAE.
“It will indeed be a pleasant sight to see the happy faces of our customers as they will have the option not to wear masks. Meanwhile, malls and stores operated by Lulu Group will continue to implement stringent precautionary measures,” Nandakumar underlined.
Kamal Vachani, group director and partner of Al Maya Group with more than 50 supermarkets, praised the move to remove curbs on wearing masks for entry, which would improve business and consumer confidence.
“We are grateful to the rulers for this move, which will further boost the industry's and general public's confidence. In the UAE, Covid-19 cases are declining thanks to the remarkable handling of the pandemic situation.”
Vachani pointed out that the group would continue with the implementation of safety measures.
“We will continue to take all precautions at our stores.”
Rise in restaurant bookings
Rohith Muralya, director, SFC Group, with a chain of restaurants, noted an uptick in bookings since the announcement.
“While we continue to operate by following all safety protocols and regulations as advised by the government, the response to such news has been overwhelming, and the number of reservations has been great.”
He pointed out that the relaxation will significantly lift the confidence of both residents and tourists alike.
“With rising hotel occupancies and tourist inflows, there is a positive outlook for the winter months while entering an almost pre-Covid sense of normalcy.”
Deepak Bhatia, CEO, Snowbell Restaurant Management, said the loosening of curbs on masks has brought “immense relief and a sense of freedom” for locals and tourists.
“With the extension of the Covid-19 testing rules from 14 days to 30 days for the Al Hosn green pass validity, it is great news for restaurant businesses, like ours, situated in the malls across Abu Dhabi. It was a major concern that was hampering footfalls in the past months. Additionally, the relaxation of these rules has come around the time when business is bound to pick up with an increase in the tourism sector. We are looking forward to bringing in the season with innovative menus, a refreshed approach and multiple openings across the region.”
Queries for private events
Hari Kaimal, CEO of Goldmead Hospitality, has already witnessed a surge in queries for private events.
“Waiving off mask requirements will no doubt instil further confidence in consumers to go out and about their daily lives, resulting in better revenues for the food and beverage industry as a whole, especially stepping into the busy season. Over the past 24 hours, we have seen an increase in inquiries for private events etc., indicating people are already cheering this decision on.”
Kaimal added that the wearing of face masks would continue across all food service providers.
“We plan to continue the sanitisation measures and mask requirements for food service providers stringently, across all our venues.”