Dining outdoors in Ramadan is not permitted…

Ramadan is a little different this year since Dubai authorities removed the need for restaurants to apply for permits to serve food during Ramadan fasting hours. With this, Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) also withdrew the requirement to place screens and curtains over mall courts and restaurants.

This announcement raised questions around whether non-muslims can now eat and drink outdoors as normal. However, Dubai authorities have clarified to Gulf News that this is not the case.

“Outdoor seating is not allowed during fasting hours. Delivery of food can be continued as usual,” said Mohammed Ali Rashed Lootah, CEO of the Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector in Dubai Economy.

Hotels are granted special permission, so can serve food outdoors in private beach areas, however public beach restaurants are not permitted to serve food outdoors. Restaurants outside of hotels must serve food only within their walled premises, but do not need to place screens or curtains.

Sultan Ali Al Taher, head of Food Inspection at the Food Safety Department in Dubai Municipality told Gulf News, “Restaurants in hotels are allowed to serve food in outdoor seating areas.”

The authorities have also clarified the rules surrounding shisha. Serving shisha is not permitted at any restaurant, hotel or shisha cafe during fasting hours. Shisha can only be served between sunset and 4am throughout Ramadan.

The general public should continue to show respect for those who are fasting by not eating, drinking, smoking or chewing gum in public areas. Dining outdoors in Ramadan is not permitted without special permission.