Businesses in the UAE welcomed the government's announcement to lift capacity limits at shopping malls, entertainment and F&B venues, public transport and social gatherings from February 15 and hoped to put behind the setbacks of the pandemic.

The industry executives noted that the reopening of the sectors would result in more MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) events and family gatherings, hence generating more jobs in the country.

However, the UAE residents have been advised to explore only those venues and places to visit and dine in, which strictly adhere to Covid-19 safety and sanitisation guidelines.

Sanjay Vazirani, chairman and managing director of Foodlink Global Restaurants and Catering Services, says the new decision assures that it is now safe to step out and socialise.

"The hospitality industry has been one of the worst affected worldwide, and the lifting of restrictions will give a much-needed boost to the industry.

"But consumers must be cautious and only choose venues and service providers who are compliant with the guidelines and follow a strict food safety management system. I am glad that the pandemic is almost behind us," says Vazirani.

Eti Bhasin, the owner of Dhaba Lane, expects to see more family gatherings going forward. "Earlier, families were to maintain social distance and couldn't enjoy whilst sitting together. With the ease of restrictions, we would get to see families back together again, with no restrictions in their number of passengers."

Piyush Maloo, the partner at Sagar Ratna, also sees the catering business growing with more and bigger private parties being held at villas and beaches after removing coronavirus restrictions.

"With restrictions being eased up, we can offer buffets for these bigger groups. Last but not least, we expect bigger family groups to dine-in with us," he said.

Ayman Ashor, general manager, Al Bandar Rotana and Al Bandar Arjaan by Rotana hotel, said that lifting restrictions would provide an opportunity to accommodate more guests, host larger events and outside catering.

"This step will bring more business which will accelerate the economic growth after the pandemic. We look forward to ending this pandemic."

Ravneet Singh, associate director of sales and marketing, Arabian Courtyard Hotel, said the latest decision by the government to end Covid-19 restrictions would boost tourism, especially social and corporate events.

"This will surely restore confidence amongst the travellers and rethinking of UAE as a preferred destination to travel in the near future," he added.

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