For the first time in 18 months, cinemas, shopping malls and other entertainment spots and 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 case numbers stabilised in the Emirates.
Earlier this month, after announcing the imminent lift on capacity limits, the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (Ncema), said there is no change to the use of masks, which are required by law in all indoor and outdoor public places nationwide.
Additionally, it is up to each emirate to set their own capacity limits and lift or amend rules as they deem fit.
Here, The National explains where the biggest changes will be seen.
As per the new rules, cinemas can now utilise all seats within a theatre for the first time since the World Health Organisation declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic.
From today, cinemas can remove the cardboard cut outs placed on seats that were used to ensure social distancing.
As such, viewers may find themselves sat 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 ask to see proof, then visitors must comply. Mask wearing is also a must at all times.
So, during your next visit to see that latest blockbuster, it is likely you will sit side by side with people who aren’t in your group, marking the long-awaited return of the real cinema experience again.
Similarly to cinemas, all seats within a sports stadium are now open for spectators to use.
Before, venues used tape or cardboard cut outs to restrict crowding within the stands and keep seating off limits.
The UAE Football Association said entry will only be permitted to people aged 12 and over who have a green status on the Al Hosn app.
Spectators must also provide proof they have received a negative PCR test result in the past 96 hours and a mask must be worn at all times.
Social distancing in mosques and other places of worship has now been reduced to one metre.
Ncema will closely monitor the situation throughout February and said it will either maintain or cancel social distancing between worshippers depending on how the new rules play out.
Make sure you have the Al Hosn app
The Al Hosn app was originally designed to track and trace contact with Covid-19 cases, but its remit has broadened to support the country’s nationwide vaccination drive.
The app allows the user to show proof of a coronavirus vaccine or a recent test.
While few Dubai venues use the app, Abu Dhabi uses it for access to many public places and buildings. Some of the Northern Emirates use the app for access to events.
Green status can be secured by fully vaccinated people who have received two doses of any approved Covid-19 vaccine in the UAE.
It requires a booster shot six months after a second shot to stay active.
A PCR test taken every 14 days maintains green status.