Covid in UAE: Businesses and events rebound as residents adjust to new normal – News

Most business owners hope that the disruption caused by the Omicron variant will fade sooner than expected



Published: Sat, Jan 15, 2022, 11:38 AM

More people are dining out, going to the movies and hosting weddings as businesses in the UAE see a gradual return to normal.

Wedding planners and event managers said they were pleased with how businesses rebounded, particularly in November and December 2021. But then came a stutter, fueled by the Omicron variant of Covid-19 , which prompted residents to become more cautious.

Although the threat of the variant has partially bypassed the defenses built by the massive inoculation campaigns in the country, most business owners in the UAE are hopeful that the disruption will fade sooner than expected.

“A great holiday season”

Rahul Kumar, CEO and Owner of Vivaah Celebrations, said, “In our events and weddings business, we are quite pleased with how the business has rebounded. We have had a great season of celebrations over the past 12 months.

In a few cases, Kumar said he and his team even had to turn down business because they were busy with other customers.

“We can say with confidence that the business has taken over for us 100%,” he said.

Kumar and his company have held 16 large-scale weddings, including the first Covid-compliant wedding celebration in Dubai.

“The region is best placed to attract world-class events and especially large wedding celebrations,” Kumar said. “We owe it to the leadership of our country, who have been very clear about the precautionary measures to be followed, the clearly defined guidelines on events and the active vaccination campaign. This has given our customers great confidence in the system, and they are ready to sign high-value contracts, especially for the biggest celebration of their lives, their marriage.”

Sanjay Vazirani, President and Managing Director of Foodlink Global Restaurants & Catering Services LLC, said, “We are following all safety protocols and until two weeks ago we had not seen attendance affected. The increase in cases is definitely concerning and we are now seeing an increase in the number of people refraining from going out.

“So on-premises catering is slightly affected, although not significantly, while home delivery sales have shown a good increase. But sales still haven’t reached the numbers seen at the time. pre-Covid.”

Consumer spending is expected to soar in 2022

The uncertainties of the past few months have prompted entrepreneurs and business owners to constantly reset and redirect their ideas.

“It can become easier if resilience becomes part of your personality trait so that changes can be approached with a solution-focused mindset and actually spawn creativity,” Vazirani said.

While most people are confident they can dine out, the F&B community pointed out that residents are still mindful of going to crowded places or community events.

Jugal Parekh, owner of Yummy Dosa, said, “Eating out is definitely coming back to normal, although it still hasn’t reached the level of 2019. However, we hope that in 2022, it will surely win. the pace of the pre-pandemic era. We are grateful to be in the United Arab Emirates, where the pandemic was handled so smoothly, which got everyone back on track faster than the rest of the world.

The longer weekend could also mean that a facelift can be expected initially in terms of revenue, as people will now have more free time.

“The three-day weekend is a great opportunity for the entire hospitality and tourism industry. However, if cases continue to rise, there would be a fair distribution or more reliance on online ordering or back to home cooking,” said Eti Bhasin, owner of Dhaba Lane .

Additionally, with an increasing number of residents receiving the booster dose of Covid-19, an influx of customers is also expected at malls and event bookings are expected to increase in 2022.

UAE resident Hozefa Arsiwala said: “It’s great to see that the UAE is now back to business with malls, cinemas and restaurants operating as before. This reassures us and gives us the assurance that the government is taking the necessary measures to contain the pandemic, while ensuring that life returns to normal. »

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Arsiwala praised business owners for taking “the utmost care” to ensure all Covid-19 safety protocols are in place.

“It not only makes me feel safe and secure but further restores my confidence as I move about without any apprehension. If these measures are adapted as a practice in the months to come, I am confident that life will look like pre -Covid,” Arsiwala said. .

Go out, but stay safe

More and more expats are looking for less crowded places to ensure their safety.

Filipino expat Izabella Faye Lebig, a resident of Dubai, said: “When Covid cases started to rise again, we decided to limit outings, especially avoiding crowded and closed areas. We always go to the center commercial and restaurants from time to time, but opt ​​not I think that despite the current situation, we can always find ways to go out, but it will be necessary to take all the necessary sanitary precautions for our safety.

American expat Naeema Zaki echoed Lebig’s sentiments and said she and her family are selective about where they go.

“We order our purchases online more than before for security reasons. When we think of family gatherings, we now look for places that are outdoors,” she said. “As a family, we like to go out to parks, where you can have a picnic, rather than going to the mall, which was our usual weekend destination. So we are looking at more outdoor options. what we can do with the children.

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