Government urges public to stay at home

Residents are advised to only go out to get essential supplies

The advice could lower occupancy rates in hotels
The advice could lower occupancy rates in hotels

In the early hours of March 23, the UAE government urged the public to stay at home unless “absolutely necessary.” Leaving the home is only advised if residents need food or medicine, or have to carry out essential jobs for the country.

According to state news agency WAM, a joint statement from the Ministry of Interior and the National Emergency and Crisis and Disasters Management Authority urged the decision was been made to limit social contact and curb the spread of coronavirus.

"The public are also urged to use their own family cars with a maximum of three individuals per vehicle. They are also advised not to visit public places and maintain social distancing protocols during family gatherings as part of the precautionary measures taken to ensure public health and safety," added the statement.

Though the advice is not mandatory at this time, it could be yet another heavy hit to the hospitality industry, already struggling amid travel bans and slumped demand. Preliminary data for March 2020 from STR showed the Dubai hotel market has recorded drops across a number of key metrics. RevPAR, occupancy and ADR were all down compared to March in 2019, with some of the sharpest declines in years.

"Additional instructions will be issued later involving the use of public transport, taxis and other means of transportation," concluded the statement.

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