Dubai Closes Bars, Limits Activities After Covid-19 Cases Spike

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Dubai announced this week it would close all bars and pubs for the entire month of February and limit other activities after a spike in coronavirus cases followed New Year’s Eve celebrations that drew visitors from around the world. The local government also ordered restaurants and cafes to close by 1 a.m., as well as instituted crowd limits on cinemas, hotels, malls, and other destinations. The decision comes after Dubai insisted as recently as last week that “we can confidently say the current situation is under control.”

That was as coronavirus testing facilities and hospitals came under pressure from 17 straight days of record reported daily coronavirus figures across the wider United Arab Emirates. The announcement from the government’s Dubai Media Office blamed “a marked increase in the number of violations of precautionary measures” for the decision made by the city-state’s hereditary rulers.

“The measures seek to further enhance efforts to combat COVID-19, and protect the health and safety of all citizens, residents, and visitors,” the statement said.

Dubai, known for its long-haul carrier Emirates, the world’s tallest building, shopping malls, and its beaches and bars, in July became one of the first travel destinations to describe itself as open for business. The move staunched the bleeding of its crucial tourism and real estate sectors after lockdowns and curfews cratered its economy. As tourism restarted, daily reported coronavirus case numbers slowly grew but mostly remained stable through the fall.