A top official in Dubai has urged residents to observe all COVID-19 safety protocols while celebrating Diwali, the Festival of Lights, over the weekend.

Speaking to Gulf News in an exclusive interview, Mohammed Feras Arayqat, director retail registration, retail & strategic alliances, Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), said on Thursday, “Every member of Dubai’s diverse community of nationalities is invited to join in with the celebrations for the annual ‘Festival of Lights’ and experience the wide range of entertainment on offer while following all of the social distancing rules, wearing a mask and taking all safety and precautionary measures.

Mohammed Feras ArayqatImage Credit: Supplied

“As well as enjoying the outdoor entertainment and the perfect winter weather, revellers can also explore Dubai’s malls, which are offering lots of great retail deals on a wide range of traditional Diwali gifts as well as big name brands and much more.”

Cleaned and sanitised

Given that this year’s Diwali is in the midst of the pandemic, Arayqat said, “The safety and well-being of all residents and visitors at this year’s Diwali celebrations is of the utmost importance. Every effort has been made to ensure that venues hosting Diwali celebrations are cleaned and sanitised and that reduced capacity rules are strictly followed,” he said.

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Wearing masks, amongst other precautionary measures, is a mustImage Credit: Supplied

The official said, “It is important that face masks are worn at all times and social distancing rules are observed in order to keep everyone safe and well during this special time of the year. We ask all members of the public to enjoy Diwali in a safe and responsible manner for their benefit and for the benefit of others.”

He said residents and visitors can expect a “wonderful line up of celebrations, entertainment and activities across the city this Diwali. These include traditional fireworks displays, which take place at The Pointe on November 13 at 9pm, along with a special performance of The Palm Fountain.

Fireworks will be a major attraction during the celebrationsImage Credit: Supplied

“There will also be fireworks shows at Global Village along with a fun-packed carnival of Diwali-themed entertainment on November 12 and 13. Visitors to Al Seef will be able to experience a unique schedule of daily entertainment created especially for Diwali with Bollywood dance shows in addition to a variety of retail and dining offers to discover.”

Gold promotions

He said in keeping with Dubai’s long-standing tradition of great Diwali retail deals, a selection of the city’s favourite jewellers and malls will host gold promotions throughout Diwali. “Shoppers can get free gold or diamond gifts when they buy jewellery and win incredible prizes, including half a kilogram of gold, with special Shop & Win raffles.”

Dubai’s community of foodies can enjoy “delicious dishes” this Diwali with the ‘Diwali Treats to Brighten your Festival of Lights promotion’.

“Launched by DFRE and food app Zomato, foodies are invited to dine at some of the city’s best Indian and international restaurants. The promotion offers savings of 15-40 per cent to eat in at participating venues, or 50 per cent off deliver orders made online. More than 200 of the best street food vendors, family eateries and special occasion restaurants Dubai has to offer will be taking part in the promotion, with flavours to suit every taste,” he added.