It’s official – We have entered a 24-hour lockdown in Dubai for two weeks, starting last Saturday (April 4th, 8:00 pm).

Now many of you may be confused about what’s permitted and what’s not during this period, and understandably so. The situation is dynamic and the rules imposed to tackle it are changing fast too. It can be hard to keep track of all the changes.

So we’ve compiled everything you need to know about the lockdown in this simple guide. Our aim is to keep updating this guide, as we get more information from reliable sources.

Are you allowed to get out of the house?

This is the big question on everyone’s mind, isn’t it? So if you’re worried about getting into trouble if you leave your house, here’s the protocol you need to follow…

Do not step out, unless it’s an absolute necessity

The government has taken unprecedented measures to control the spread of the the Coronavirus, and has implemented a 24-hour national sterilization program for these two weeks. There will be strict action taken against those seen flouting the rules of the lockdown. Radars are operating round the clock, with a special mechanism being introduced to review the tickets issued during this period. The message is clear – If you are out for avoidable reasons or without prior approval, you will face repercussions in terms of heavy fines.

Get a ‘Movement Permit’ if you HAVE to go out

The government of Dubai and Dubai Police have launched an online ‘movement permit registration‘ service for residents who need to leave their homes for unavoidable reasons.

Need to travel for work? You can browse the list of 24 exempt sectors and occupations published by the authorities on this page. If you’re employed in an exempt sector, you do not have to apply for a permit. However, you must get a letter from your employer stating your commute details, and will be required to present this document if stopped by the police.

If you want to go out for personal reasons, you can choose from one of three reasons to apply for the permit – medical appointment, groceries/medical supplies, and general emergencies. If you have a genuine emergency that requires you to leave the house, you will have to add that in the description when applying for the permit.

You will then have to enter your personal details (name, address, Emirates ID/Passport/Driving License number), mode of transportation, origin and destination address, date and time of travel to submit your application. The permit doesn’t just apply to motorists. Even pedestrians and cyclists need to apply for it.

Once your request is processed, you will receive the permit via SMS to your registered phone number. We tried applying for a permit. It’s really straightforward and quick, and the permit takes less than a minute to come through.

Be aware of the following…

  • The permit doesn’t just apply to motorists. Even pedestrians and cyclists need to apply for it.
  • Only one family member is allowed to go out for essential purposes.
  • You must put on gloves and a mask when going out for permitted reasons.
  • Make sure you keep a record of grocery/pharmacy bills or proof of medical appointment to get your fine waived, if you’re caught by the traffic radars or are stopped by the police.
  • For those traveling across the Emirates for essential purposes, note that the four highways where the radars are switched off (not for speeding) include – Emirates road, Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed road, Dubai Al Ain road and Dubai Hatta road.
  • If you are confused about whether you have a valid reason to apply for a permit or not, or if you have any other questions regarding the service, you can call 800-PERMIT (800 737648) for support.

We hope this information cuts through the rumors and clarifies things for you. The Souqalmal team is keeping track of the changing situation, and we’ll do our best to get you the facts and practical tips to help you keep your sanity during this lockdown.