The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development has permitted the owners of restaurants, cafes and tourist service facilities to resume the provision of “Hookah” service across the emirate for those who are licensed to provide it. This came in accordance with the directives of Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Committee for the Covid-19 Pandemic, with the aim of boosting the operational capacity of the economic, tourist and entertainment businesses under the application of preventive and precautionary measures to reduce the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.  

The circular issued by the Department stated that permitting the provision of “Hookah” service across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi requires the economic facilities that hold a license to provide it to fully adhere to all the preventive and precautionary instructions and measures in order to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals who visit restaurants, cafes and tourist facilities. While the ADDED indicated that the contravention of implementing the circular shall lead to the withdrawal of the “Hookah” service provision permit as well as issuing violation tickets in this respect.

In this context, the Department, in its circular, has required the concerned facilities to conduct a COVID-19 examination for all the employees periodically every 14 days, as well as measuring temperature degrees for all the staff and customers of the cafes regularly throughout the day. Furthermore, they are required not to allow those workers or customers to enter the facility in case it is found that they have any of COVID-19 symptoms as well as encouraging e-payment in the facility.

In addition, the Department has required the segregation or closure of doors situated between the smokers and non-smokers areas, and to allow maximum (4) people for each table, as well as placing all awareness instructions relative to smoking areas clearly all over such places. While ensuring the complete application of all guidelines requirements in respect of smoking regulation and training all workers of cafes to implement the precautionary measures.

The Department has instructed, in its circular, that it is important for workers to wash their hands regularly before and after providing the hookah service, and to observe the usage of disposable plastic hookah only. As well as disposable plastic hookah pipes for each customer, along with intensifying cleanliness monitoring in smoking areas and not allowing the “hookah” trial before serving it by workers.

Moreover, the Department has instructed the owners of concerned facilities that it is important to apply an intensive sanitization periodically within the facility throughout the day, along with assigning janitors through using the sanitizers approved by the Department of Health. In addition to keeping sanitization and cleanliness records and the provision of hand sanitizers all over the café facilities (entrances, toilets and sitting and contact areas …etc.).   

In the same context, the ADDED has indicated the importance of wearing masks and gloves for all workers all the time and changing them regularly throughout the day, as well as the customers’ adherence to wear masks and gloves all the time, and to remove them only upon sitting, while not allowing customers to enter the facility without masks.   

It is worth noting that 323 business facilities provide the hookah service across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, 66 facilities in Al Ain district as well as 13 facilities in Al Dhafra. While the total number of workers in these facilities amounted to 2067 workers
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