An $800 fine if you don’t wear a mask: The UAE introduces new coronavirus penalties

Health, Fitness & Food

A medical worker, wearing disposable gloves, measures the temperature of a man at a coronavirus drive-through screening center on April 1, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Francois Nel | Getty Images

The United Arab Emirates revised penalties for those who violate rules and will implement expanded Covid-19 measures from Wednesday, officials announced on Monday, less than a month after partially relaxing restrictions.

Those who host parties will be fined 10,000 dirhams ($2,722.59), while each attendee will have to pay 5,000 dirhams. 

A national curfew that was initially shortened by two hours will also be extended back to its original duration, lasting from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily.

Authorities said the decision was made because of an increase in infections stemming from some people in the community behaving irresponsibly, according to state news agency WAM.

Amna al-Dahak al-Shamsi, spokesperson for the UAE government, said at a media briefing: “We are talking here about a few individuals who are still unaware of the consequences of not adhering to health measures and guidelines and risk the health and safety of others. Irresponsible behavior of a person or two can impact families at large.”

The UAE has 24,190 confirmed cases and 224 reported deaths due to the coronavirus, according to data complied by Johns Hopkins University.

Updated measures

  • National Sanitization Program to last from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily, instead of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., from Wednesday until further notice. All must stay indoors during this period
  • Working hours for cafes and butchers to end at 8 p.m., in line with the disinfection program
  • Shopping malls to open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Wednesday until the end of Ramadan
  • 2-hour limit on shopping trips
  • Exercise near home for up to two hours, with a maximum of two other people. Social distancing measures still apply

Malls will continue to operate at 30% capacity with social distancing in place. Children below the age of 12 and seniors above the age of 60 remain prohibited from entering shopping centers.

Public spaces such as cinemas, schools and sports facilities will also stay closed.

Authorities recommend that domestic workers not meet anyone outside their homes, but be provided with protective gear if they need to receive parcels or deliveries.

New fines

According to a report by Gulf News, penalties for those who violate coronavirus rules have been revised to the following.

50,000 dirhams (around $13,600)

  • For businesses such as gyms and restaurants that flout rules on mandatory closure or limited operating hours
  • People who disobey home and health quarantine orders

30,000 dirhams (around $8,170)

  • Private tutors who continue teaching in person

20,000 dirhams (around $5,450)

  • People who host private tutors in their homes
  • Patients and individuals who have recovered from Covid-19 who tamper with tracking devices or apps 
  • Failing to use thermal cameras where required

10,000 dirhams (around $2,720)

  • Patients and individuals who have recovered from Covid-19 who refuse to download an app for tracing purposes
  • Transporting workers between emirates
  • Hosting a party or gathering

5,000 dirhams (around $1,360)

  • Attending a party or gathering
  • Shops that operate for more hours than permitted
  • Businesses that do not implement social distancing
  • Individuals that refuse to take a coronavirus test
  • Companies where employees do not wear masks

3,000 dirhams (around $817)

  • Not wearing a mask when travelling in a car with more than three people
  • Violating restrictions during the sterilization period
  • Companies that have more than 30% of their workforce in office
  • Individuals who do not maintain social distancing

1,000 dirhams (around $272)

  • Refusing to retake a coronavirus test after two weeks

500 dirhams (around $136)

  • Employees who do not wear masks at work

Repeat offenders can be fined 100,000 dirhams and jailed for up to six months.

Ramadan rules

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan ends on May 23 and is typically celebrated by having parties or visiting family and friends. This year, such gatherings will not be allowed.

  • Avoid family gatherings and visits, use technology to convey greetings
  • Mosques and places of worship are to remain closed. Worshippers are instructed to perform prayers at home
  • Use electronic methods to give money to children, as is the practice during the festivities

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