The restaurants across Dubai got a new lease of life last week when the Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management allowed live entertainment and activities in restaurants, cafes and shopping malls for a trial period of one month (extendable) starting May 17, 2021.
These new orders came with a strict guideline that the latest precautionary measures must be observed, and performers and entertainers should be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
The order has revatilised the Dubai’s famous night-life and is slowly bringing back the zing into the lit evenings of the city that has always been one of the hot favourites for tourists from across the world. And Dubai’s unmatched hospitality and glittering line-up of events and activities, especially, in the evenings has been a big draw not only for tourists but also its residents.
So how are the restaurant owners making the most of the latest relaxation and what are some of the major challenges being faced by them?
Speaking to Radio 4, Habib Khan, General Manager and CEO of Planet Hospitality, who runs the famous Mumtaz Mahal restaurant at Arabian Courtyard in Bur Dubai says the ruling came as a pleasant surprise to him.
“We were not expecting an instant implementation,” says Khan adding that his main challenge was the strict criteria that performing artists and serving staff must be vaccinated. While Khan has two inhouse singers who belt out LIVE Bollywood classics and entertain his guests, he says it’s very difficult to get talented performers for the job, as most of them come from the Asian subcontinent.
“Flights from artists’ countries are restricted, hence, very we have limited room to maneuver.”
But it’s still a far cry from the situation until a few months ago when just like many others, Khan too kept his restaurant closed or on limited operations due to coronavirus restrictions. “We tried to focus on deliveries rather than in-house dining,” he says.
But the tide is turning now, as in the last one week, his restaurant has seen more than double the footfall and the business is slowly picking up.
Singer Seema Shrivastava, who has been in the business since 1994 feels the recent ruling is a sign of positivity. Seema, who has got both her COVID-19 vaccine jabs says being an independent artist comes with its own set of challenges. Working without a fixed pay, Seema had so far been managing with her savings and doing a few online concerts, but now things are looking up for the singer, who has been performing in Dubai since 2000. “I hope there are no more breaks and I can continue working in Dubai,” she concludes.
Her co-singer Prateek Seth, who hails from Agra, also hopes that he can relive the past glory of the Dubai’s thriving nightlife and entertain his guests like before. “People need entertainment and we as artists live for the smile on the faces of our patrons. I am very thrilled to be back on the stage,” asserts Prateek before rushing inside to croon yet another Kishore Kumar classic that his fans had been waiting for.
As per the new guidelines, all entertainment facilities and venues can have an increased capacity of 70 per cent, while hotels can raise their occupancy ceiling to 100 per cent.
The Supreme Committee has stressed that it continues to be mandatory for people attending events and activities to wear face masks and observe a minimum physical distancing of two metres.
As the world slowly comes out of the Coronavirus pandemic, the UAE is one of the countries that has led the fight with precision, precaution and pro-active vaccination of its people.