Dubai is parting with a long-standing requirement that restaurants be covered by curtains in the daytime during Ramadan to shield the sight of food from people fasting.
The move, announced on Sunday by the city-state’s economic development department, is the latest change aimed at boosting tourism in the Muslim nation.
“Restaurants will be allowed to serve customers without putting in place curtains, dividers or facades as has been the mandatory practice previously,” the state-run WAM news agency said.
“(This) replaces circulars issued in previous years that have required restaurants to block dining areas from the sight of those who are fasting.”
The new rules also remove requirements for restaurants to obtain special permits to serve food during daylight hours.
— بلدية دبي | Dubai Municipality (@DMunicipality) April 10, 2021
During Ramadan, Muslims observing the holy month abstain from food and drink – even water – during the day.
Among Gulf Arab states, home to large, non-Muslim expatriate populations, most require curtains be put up to block the sight of food from those fasting.
Eating and drinking in public is also discouraged.
Dubai, one of the seven sheikhdoms in the United Arab Emirates, has long been a popular tourism destination for those wanting beaches, shopping and partying in this skyscraper-studded city.
However, Ramadan always represented a slower period due to its restrictions.
In recent years, hoping to boost tourism as Ramadan will be marked during its more temperate winter months, Dubai has started to relax some restrictions, including loosening rules prohibiting daytime alcohol sales.