Combating coronavirus: Face mask exemptions announced in Dubai


Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management headed by Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced a set of guidelines on the use of face masks outside the house and in public areas for different age groups.

The new guidelines, aimed at ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the community, are based on the recommendations of the Covid-19 Command and Control Centre and a comprehensive review of global best practices.

The Committee explained that the new guidelines take into account the exceptional situations of some categories of people including people of determination, children, and those with chronic respiratory conditions.

All members of the community must wear face masks outside their homes at all times, the Supreme Committee stressed. The following categories have been exempted from wearing face masks under specific conditions:

Children under the age of six

People of determination with cognitive, intellectual or sensory disorders or any impairments that hamper their ability to breathe or communicate, as well as those for whom masks can lead to sensory triggering (This should be confirmed by a medical report).

Individuals who require supplemental oxygen or have severe respiratory conditions, who cannot breathe safely or have difficulty breathing with a mask, are also exempted (This should be confirmed by a medical report)

The Committee also decided to allow the public to remove their face masks temporarily outside the house strictly only under the following conditions:

>When driving the car alone or in the presence of the same household members.

>While eating or drinking in indoor and outdoor settings, for example in restaurants. The public must however maintain physical distance with others.

>When engaging in strenuous indoor and outdoor exercise or high intensity workouts, as it may exacerbate known or unknown health conditions. Physical distancing must be observed at all times.

>While being alone with no people around – for example, in a private office setting.

>When the risks associated with wearing the face mask outweigh the benefits, for example while swimming or skydiving.

>While undergoing specific treatments that require removal of masks, such as dental work and eye, nose, and throat examinations, as well as other related treatments or examinations including those involving hair and beauty.

>The Committee explained that the exemptions are in line with the need to protect the safety of the community and remove risks faced by some segments from wearing the masks.

>The Committee stressed on the need for parents and guardians of the exempted groups to ensure a minimum physical distance of two metres from others. The Committee emphasised that face masks can be removed only under the conditions outlined in the guidelines and reiterated the importance of physical distancing.

>The new guidelines were developed following the COVID-19 Command and Control Centre’s latest assessment of global developments surrounding the pandemic and an assessment of the local situation. The COVID-19 Command and Control Centre has been collaborating with local and international research and medical bodies to better understand how to combat the pandemic and minimise its repercussions as per best global practices, especially as life in the emirate gradually returns to normal.