Dubai Mall, which is touted as the world’s largest mall, re-opened this week under strict safeguards after being shut down for a month due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed 238,663 lives worldwide so far. Clutching bags from designer boutiques in their gloved hands, customers are back at one of the world’s largest shopping havens after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) started easing Covid-19 restrictions.
However, the mall has announced a set of guidelines that the visitors must follow, such as wearing a mask and not staying inside longer than three hours. Also, children aged between three and 12, and people over 60 or in higher-risk groups for the respiratory disease are not allowed in. The mall was shut on March 23 and Dubai had been under an overnight curfew along with the rest of UAE since March 26.
At the main entrance where customers hand over their sports cars and luxury SUVs for valet parking, the mall employees greet them with black T-shirts reading “Welcome back”, along with checking their temperature using thermometers, according to news agency AFP.
“We have introduced technology to control the number of people entering, and receive reports every hour,” AFP quoted Najla Boujellal, who works for the mall’s owners Emaar, as saying.
The mall’s cinema, skating rink and large fountains, which in normal times attract thousands of tourists packed in for evening shows, remain closed.
Since the lockdown was imposed in the country, mobility was restricted and the Emirates had said that legal action will be taken against violators, however, supermarkets and pharmacies, as well as food and drug delivery services were continuing normally.
A key attraction for people, the Dubai Mall has built its wealth and world-renown on mega-projects and a diversified economy to become a tourism and shopping hub, as well as for finance and real estate. The mall has around 13,00 stores that circle a vast lake inside it. It is overlooked by the Burj Khalifa and it attracts some 80 million visitors per year.