Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

UAE pledges mask clampdown as Saudi lifts all Covid restrictions

Heavy fines will be imposed on those not wearing masks in the UAE Creative Commons
Heavy fines will be imposed on those not wearing masks in the UAE
  • Face masks are no longer required for Saudi residents or visitors
  • UAE will be ‘strictly monitoring’ violations of its rules and issuing fines
  • Cases are rising in the emirate, with 1,319 new infections on Monday

Saudi Arabia lifted all its coronavirus restrictions on Monday – just hours before the UAE warned that its face mask rules would be strictly enforced as the emirate grapples with a spike in infections.

The Saudi Press agency reported on Monday that residents and visitors to the kingdom would no longer be required to wear masks indoors, except in the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina.

In the UAE, by contrast, Dr. Taher Al Ameri, spokesperson for the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, told a special media briefing that the wearing of face masks indoors and in closed spaces would continue to be enforced.

Those who violate the law will be fined up to AED3,000 ($816).

“We have seen that lately many community members are not wearing masks in the closed places. It is a violation if you don’t.

“You will be paying a fine for this violation [and we] will be monitoring strictly this aspect by the different inspectors,” Al Ameri said, speaking through a translator.

The spokesperson added that some residents who had tested positive for Covid-19 were not quarantining for 10 days, as instructed by the Al Hosn app.

“Any individual who spreads the virus will also be held legally accountable by the relevant authorities,” he said.

The briefing came as the UAE recorded 1,319 new coronavirus cases on Monday. The number of daily infections in the UAE has continued to rise in recent weeks, from 442 on June 1, but still below a high of 3,116 on January 15.

“The number of positive cases has increased substantially and many of us are becoming more concerned as the use of face masks indoors has significantly decreased,” Dr Ruhil Badiani, a family physician at the Cornerstone Clinic in Dubai, told AGBI.

“I very much agree with the news out today. We know face masks and social distancing work in reducing the number of cases and to protect our most vulnerable, we must take steps in decreasing the spread of the disease.”

During the media briefing, the government also announced changes to the green pass system on the Al Hosn app. At present, the app turns green when a user has received a negative PCR test result and remains green for 30 days. Some buildings require users to show a green pass to gain access.

The validity period will be reduced from 30 days to 14 days from Wednesday – or next Monday, June 20, for students sitting exams and their teachers.

Naim Maadad, CEO of Gates Hospitality and a board member of UAE Restaurants Group, welcomed the clampdown on rule-breakers, saying he had noticed that increasing numbers of people were no longer wearing masks.

“Fifty percent of the population is not wearing a mask nowadays and this needs to be enforced by relevant authorities and policed. Obviously it is in place for a reason,” Maadad said. “The message is very clear. Stay vigilant, stay alert, respect all the rules.”

Erika Blazeviciute Doyle, managing director of Drink Dry, which supplies non-alcoholic beverage brands to around 180 outlets in the UAE, said she did not believe the mask requirement would have a major impact on the hospitality sector.

“One of the best things about having a business in the UAE is that the government responds very fast and efficiently to changing situations,” she said.

“In no way does it impact business for our hospitality partners. The consumers are now used to it, they know the drill, they know what to expect. Nobody’s going to be stopping going out just because of these small changes.”

The UAE has had 917,496 confirmed infections and 2,305 deaths since the start of the pandemic in early 2020, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

About 98 percent of its population – 9,702,575 people – is fully vaccinated.

The equivalent figures for Saudi Arabia are 777,795 cases and 9,173 deaths, with 71.7 percent of the population (24,960,145 people) fully vaccinated.

Latest articles

The Saudi government is trying to raise home ownership among nationals to 70 percent of the population by 2030, which is helping to drive up residential property prices

Residential price rise counters slip in Saudi commercial property

Residential property was the driving force behind a rise in Saudi Arabian real estate prices in the first quarter of 2024 as prices of commercial real estate fell, government statistics released this week showed.  The overall real estate price index rose by 0.6 percent compared with the same quarter in 2023. But while there was […]

Residents in Muscat. Oman's government is taking steps to increase the size of its debt market

Sukuk takes bigger slice of Oman’s shrinking debt market

Oman’s total debt capital market contracted by 7 percent to $44 billion last year as the government took advantage of its budget surplus from higher oil and gas prices to make early payments. The energy boon helped its budget surplus total $2.4 billion. Despite the shrinking debt market Fitch Ratings said sukuk issuance in Oman […]

Marcel Ciolacu, Romania's PM, speaks to reporters in Rome. He is now in Qatar for trade talks

Romania touts $16bn of opportunities as PM visits Qatar

Romania is looking to secure €15 billion ($16 billion) of investment from Qatar during a visit by its prime minister, Marcel Ciolacu. He is set to hold talks with Qatar’s prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani. Ciolacu is also due to have discussions with representatives of Qatar […]

The under-construction Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi

UAE wealth fund ADQ buys stake in Abu Dhabi builder

UAE sovereign wealth fund ADQ is acquiring a stake in the construction company building the Guggenheim and Zayed National museums in Abu Dhabi. Alpha Dhabi Holding (ADH), an investment holding company, announced in a filing to the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange on Tuesday that it will divest 49 percent of its subsidiary Alpha Dhabi Construction […]