Companies around the world have adopted remote working schemes to stem the spread of the fast-spreading virus. Early this month, Google parent company urged workers in the Middle East, as well as in other countries, to stop reporting to their offices, while Twitter ordered all its staff worldwide to stay at home.
However, not all private firms are covered by the remote work policy.
To ensure the economy keeps going, and consumer essentials and critical services are delivered, the following sectors are excluded from the remote work policy in Dubai: health, pharmaceuticals, food retail outlets (including animal feed), industrial and manufacturing, construction, contracting and building materials, security services, logistics and delivery services, supply chain, workshops, cleaning services, cash transport and banking.
The Dubai Economy said companies in the exempted industries “should take the necessary precautionary measures with due regard to the guidelines on sanitization and social distancing.” As of Thursday, some employees contacted by Zawya said they continue to report to the office, while others said they will work remotely on a rotation basis.
"Our company had initially planned to let all staff work from home starting next week, but when the Dubai directive came out and stated that only 80 percent of the staff are mandated to work remotely, some of our colleagues will have to continue working in the office," said one expatriate who works for a PR agency.
Authorities had earlier ordered the suspension of all inbound, outbound and transit flights, as well as the closure of all malls in the country, except supermarkets, cooperative societies, grocery stores and pharmacies, which have the option to remain open for 24 hours.
On Wednesday, Dubai also ordered commercial establishments in and outside the malls to shut their doors. Exempted are bakeries, car workshops, laundry shops, technical and electrical service providers, food delivery transport services providers, and restaurants and cafes inside hotels and hotel apartments.
The closure order covers fish, meat and vegetable markets - excluding wholesalers supplying to supermarkets - shisha cafes, gyms, fitness centres, theme parks, amusement centres, electronic games (e-games) outlets, cinemas, beauty salons, massage parlors, spas and spring camps.
(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)
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