It is no longer mandatory to wear face masks outside in the UAE, according to the latest announcement by the emirates’ National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Committee (NCEMA). As of Saturday 26 February 2022, mask wearing will be optional when outdoors across the whole of the UAE, although it will still be required when inside public areas.
This easing of restrictions comes amid a series of other modifications to the current COVID-19 precautions protocol, as part of the UAE’s ongoing efforts to achieve sustainable recovery and return to normality, while maintaining public health and safety.
What UAE COVID-19 rules have been lifted?
The UAE has announced a series of changes to the COVID-19 precaution protocol as of 26 February 2022. These changes have been decided and announced at a federal level, but each emirate has the power to amend the rules to a certain extent as they see fit. Here are all of the UAE COVID-19 restrictions that have been eased so far:
Face masks no longer required outside in UAE
It’s no longer mandatory for residents, tourists or citizens to wear face masks when outdoors in the UAE. This is the most significant lifting of restrictions since the pandemic first hit in Spring 2020, and likely to make the most immediate palpable difference to the lives of UAE parents and children. The UAE has stood out as one of the countries in the world where mask wearing has remained obligatory both inside and outside for the past two years. The fact that mask wearing outside is now optional will come as a welcome relief to many UAE families – although it remains compulsory to wear face masks when indoors at public venues, including schools and shopping malls.
No more COVID close contact quarantine
Quarantining following close contact with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus is no longer mandatory, as long as you are not experiencing any symptoms. However, each emirate may determine the details of this ruling. According to the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee, those who have had close contact with a COVID positive case must instead take daily PCR tests for five days.
Eased travel restrictions
Among updated travel protocols, Dubai-bound travellers will need to present an approved COVID-19 vaccination certificate that contains a QR code. Unvaccinated inbound travellers need to present a negative PCR test result done within the last 48 hours or a certificate of recovery from COVID-19 containing a QR code, obtained within one month before the date of travel
No need for PCR test between Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi authorities will drop the need to show a negative PCR test when crossing the border between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Return of all sporting activities
The authority announced the return of all sports activities for all age groups, while obligating the public to follow the Green Pass protocol or present a negative PCR of not more than 96 hors, in addition to maintaining the mandatory wearing of masks in all outdoor and indoor spaces given the turnout found in such activities.
Increased capacity at private and public events
The capacity may be increased to 90% at all public and private events. However, NCEMA stressed the continuity of following the Green Pass requirement, or presenting a negative PCR test result of no more than 96 hours to attend all local events, exhibitions, and cultural and social activities.
Physical distancing scrapped in certain instances
For the economic and tourist sectors, physical distancing has been removed as an obligation, while mask-wearing in closed places is still mandatory.
The announcement by NCEMA has been followed by several announcements by each emirate. Each emirate may enforce slightly different variations of the rules. The exact impact that this will have on school rules will be confirmed by each emirate’s school regulator. This is an ongoing situation and we will update as more information comes to light.
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