The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government announced the official holidays for Eid Al Fitr earlier this week, calling for the closure of all businesses, starting from the 29th of Ramadan until the 3rd of Shawwal. The exact dates depend on when the crescent moon is sighted but the first day of Eid is expected to fall either on May 12 or May 13. Meanwhile, Dr Shereena Al Mazrouei, health promotion manager at Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre, also urged people to avoid big Eid gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic. Talking to The National UAE, she said the Abu Dhabi Police has broken up 39 illegal gatherings since the beginning of Ramadan, adding that many people have been flouting Covid-19 SOPs of late. Now, stricter rules for the festive holidays have been outlined.
The UAE government has discouraged house-hopping during the three days of Eid, due to the raging coronavirus pandemic. Hence, greetings must be exchanged through electronic means of communication and not in person. Moreover, neighbours and family members must not gift each other presents or share food. The age-old tradition of giving cash or gifts (Eidiya) must be avoided too and can be transferred to bank accounts if needed.
Speaking to The National, Al Mazrouei earlier said, “Ramadan and Eid are very critical times and we have noticed that people are becoming even more lax because of vaccinations.” She continued, “We are definitely looking forward to 100 per cent vaccination. But those who are vaccinated should still not go out to Ramadan and suhoor gatherings and spread the infection.” The UAE has one of the biggest and fastest vaccine distribution rates compared to other countries around the world. “Yes, those who have gotten vaccinated have a better chance of not contracting the virus but they should continue to follow precautionary measures until the pandemic is over,” the health expert concluded.