UAE government eases mandatory wearing of masks in outside areas


From March 1, 2022, the use of masks will only be mandatory in closed, indoor spaces. People are not required by law to wear masks outside.

People will no longer have to wear masks outside from Saturday, Abu Dhabi and Dubai’s crisis authorities have confirmed.

It following the announcement on Friday from the UAE federal government’s crisis authority that wearing masks in outdoor areas will no longer be mandatory from February 26.

Instead, the use of masks outside will now be optional, the Supreme Council for National Security said in a Twitter post.

Masks must still be worn in all indoor areas and public places — including shopping malls and schools.

In addition, mandatory quarantine following close contact with a person with coronavirus is no longer mandatory. Anyone who has had close contact must take two PCRs 48 hours apart over five days before leaving the home.

The decision is among the most significant easing of restrictions since April 2020, when the pandemic spread across the Middle East and the globe.

Further changes were set out by several federal government departments within the same hour.

The National Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Management Authority said PCR test requirements for fully vaccinated passengers coming to the UAE would be halted.

And Abu Dhabi authorities will drop the need to show a negative PCR test when crossing the border between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Each emirate free to amend rules

In a statement, state news agency Wam said each emirate was free to determine several aspects, including “the quarantine period and PCR tests for Covid contacts in whatever sectors and professions”.

Within closed areas, “for economic and tourist sectors, physical distancing has been cancelled while mask-wearing in closed places is still mandatory”.

Previous directives have allowed each of the emirates to impose different rules — particularly relating to public venues, bars, restaurants, gatherings in private residences, weddings and funerals — while enforcing federal rules on issues such as mask wearing.

Top post-pandemic destinations for UAE travellers: in pictures

1. Dubai topped the list of destinations for UAE travellers. All photos: Unsplash
2. Abu Dhabi ranks second.
3. Switzerland is the international destination UAE travellers have the highest impression of.
4. Singapore was the second-top international destination in the YouGov survey.
5. Fifth-ranked Canada.
6. The Maldives ranked sixth overall, and the fourth-best international destination.
7. Still tightly sealed to tourists, Japan is the seventh most coveted destination for UAE residents.
8. The UK may drop passenger locator forms for foreign travellers in April.
9. Germany scored 23.2 in the survey.
10. South Korea rounded up the list with a score of 21.8.

1. Dubai topped the list of destinations for UAE travellers

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