Happy shoppers, diners confident with mall safety as Dubai reopens

'We have not stepped out of our room for the last two months to go to any public place or malls'

  
People wearing protective face masks walk at Dubai mall after the UAE government eased a curfew and allowed stores to open, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates May 3, 2020.

People wearing protective face masks walk at Dubai mall after the UAE government eased a curfew and allowed stores to open, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates May 3, 2020.

REUTERS/Rula Rouhana

Upon hearing that more stores and entertainment centres will be open from Wednesday, a number of residents - friends and families - have decided that it is time to step out. And so they did, confident that all safety measures are in place and pledging that they, too, will be extra careful.

Indian expats Senthil Kumar and his wife Jyoti took the Dubai Metro and went to the mall - for the first time in over two months.

"We have not stepped out of our room for the last two months to go to any public place or malls. My husband would sometimes go out sometimes for grocery shopping but today, we went to a mall together for some essential work," said Jyoti.

Senthil added that though they were still not sure about using public transport, they were convinced that the Dubai government has implemented all necessary protocols to keep people safe.

"The reassurance of the Dubai government time and again - and the excellent safety protocols followed at all public places such as implementing social distancing rule, wearing masks at all times, seeing cleaners disinfect mall areas - boosted our confidence," he said.

Dominican Omar Nabi, 18, came all the way from Abu Dhabi to hang out with his friends at Dubai's Mall of the Emirates on Wednesday.

"I met my friends after a good two months today and although we couldn't hug or shake hands, just seeing each other and talking made all the difference," he said.

"Although we are not allowed to try clothes at shops yet, we did enjoy seeing new collections and bought some stuff before heading on to the food court to enjoy our favourite burgers."

Omar said he felt safe and relieved after seeing the number of guidelines being followed at the mall.

Sporting an N-95 mask, he said: "My friends and I took all the precautions today while stepping out and we were happy to see how the mall management had also placed signages, thermal screening machines and social distancing stickers at different locations of the mall."

Putting safety first as they welcomed shoppers, Dubai Outlet Mall, Mall of the Emirates and The Dubai Mall implemented a raft of measures to protect both visitors and employees.

These included thermal screenings at all entrances of the malls, making hand sanitisers available to all, and placing social distancing stickers on floors.

Cleaners were also seen disinfecting common areas and a number of signages were put up for visitors and staff to wear masks and gloves.

These malls have resumed their regular operational hours and are open from 10am to 10pm.

Happy reunions

Syrian expat Dana had come to The Dubai Mall with her friend Merit, who was on wheelchair after suffering injuries from a horse-riding accident last month.

Pushing her friend on the wheelchair, Dana said she and her bestie stepped out of their homes after "ages" and were too excited to shop, eat and watch movies together with the relaxation of restrictions on movement in Dubai.

"We have been in the mall now for two hours and we thoroughly enjoyed shopping, chit-chatting and just walking around. I haven't eaten out for four months now but since Merit wants to have her favourite dish at the food court, we are headed there for a quick lunch now," Dana said.

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