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In brief

On 25 May 2020, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, has announced the gradual reopening of business activities in Dubai and removal of all movement restrictions between 6:00 am and 11:00 pm, as of 27 May 2020. The sectors allowed to resume activities include retail and wholesale outlets, airports, clinics, educational and training institutions, sports academies, cinemas, entertainment and leisure attractions, and auctions.


In implementation of the decision by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan regarding the resumption of economic activities, the Dubai Department of Economic Development (Dubai DED) has issued the amended guidelines for the reopening of economic activities post Eid Al Fitr (or 27 May 2020). The Dubai DED guidelines set out the maximum occupancy percentages for each of the economic activities allowed to reopen and the applicable mandatory safety measures and restrictions. According to the Dubai DED guidelines, offices are allowed to resume normal operating hours and increase staffing to a maximum of 50%.

Moreover, the Dubai Sports Council has issued the reopening guidelines containing controls and procedures for the return of sports activities in fitness training centers and academies in Dubai.

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has also updated their gradual reopening guidelines stating that, as of Wednesday 27 May:

    • All offices are allowed to resume normal operations and working hours; and
    • All offices are allowed to increase capacity levels of staffing to 50%.

The DIFC guidelines also set out the maximum occupancy for the various retail and food and beverages outlets.

Government ministries and services

On 27 May 2020, the Federal Authority for Human Resources has announced the return to work in all Federal Ministries as of Sunday May 31 at a maximum capacity of 30% of the total workforce. The return to work from office will be implemented in parallel with the continuation of remote working system for certain exempted groups of employees.

Similarly, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan approved the gradual return of Dubai government employees to work from offices, as per the following guidelines:

    • 50% of Dubai government employees will start working from the office as of 31 May 2020, increasing such percentage to 100% of the workforce as of 14 June 2020.
    • Certain employees, such as those with low immunity, elderly and pregnant employees, will still be allowed to work from home.
    • Customers are encouraged to use smart platforms to access government services.
    • Precautionary measures will continue to be strictly enforced in government offices.

To speak to us about your business reopening and operational issues in the UAE, please feel free to contact one of the lawyers below or your usual Baker McKenzie contact.

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Omar Momany is a partner in Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla and is the is head of the UAE Corporate/M&A practice and focuses his practice on public and private mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructurings, corporate governance, joint ventures, commercial matters and corporate/shareholders' disputes in the UAE and throughout the region. Omar has over 15 years of experience in the Middle East and has acted for local and regional corporates and financial institutions, governments and regulatory bodies, multinationals, family businesses and royal houses. He is bilingual in Arabic and English.


Joanna Matthews-Taylor is a partner in the Dubai office of Baker McKenzie and head of the employment practice. Joanna advises on employment law and immigration matters, working with clients based in the UAE and wider Middle East region. Prior to joining the Firm, she worked as a senior legal consultant for an international law firm’s Middle East office, and as a qualified assistant for a leading Scottish law firm. From 2016 – 2020 Joanna has been recognised by Legal 500 as a "Next Generation Lawyer" and as an "Associate to watch" by Chambers Global with clients and peers commenting "client service is her strength" and that she is "technically excellent" and "has been in the region a long time and has the local knowledge."


Hani has been practicing since 2007 with a focus on M&A, reorganizations and post-acquisition integration as well as corporate structuring in the Middle East with a particular focus on the UAE and Qatar. His experience also covers general commercial contracts and advice on corporate governance and compliance. Hani holds an MBA degree and a Master's in Management alongside his law degree. He is fully trilingual and practices in English, French and Arabic, all three at a professional level. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie’s UAE offices in April 2012, Hani worked as a corporate associate at an international law firm in both Dubai and Doha between 2008 and 2012 and prior to that worked at an FMCG company and a private equity group in Kuwait.