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Feast or famine: Will UAE businesses go slow as Muslims fast this Ramadan?

The holy month of Ramadan is upon us.

The members of UAE moon-sighting committee will meet after Maghrib prayers today at the Abu Dhabi Judiciary Department and urged all Sharia courts in the country to participate in relaying their findings.

The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Sunday urged all Muslims throughout the kingdom to spot the new moon by naked eyes or by binoculars on May 15, 2018.

If no crescent is sighted, fasting will soon begin and last 29 or 30 days, as worshipers and businesses in the Emirates get ready for a slimmer waistline.

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Slow coming

Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority announced shorter school hours for the holy month with students finishing classes by 1:30 pm.

A similar announcement was made by the UAE Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR) saying public sector staff will work from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm during Ramadan.

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Slow going

British Airways has canceled a number of flights on its direct Abu Dhabi to London service during the first several weeks of Ramadan, a reflection of customer demand.

The cancellations begin May 16 and will continue through June 6, according to the BA website. BA direct flights from Dubai are not affected.

“We remain committed to our daily flights to Abu Dhabi,” a spokesman for the airline told media.

“We have made some minor schedule reductions in May and June to match customer demand and we’re contacting any customers who have already booked on these services to rebook them onto alternative flights or to offer a full refund.”

The website offers an alternative route through Bahrain, which will cost approximately AED7,000 ($1907) on the dates when direct flights between Abu Dhabi and London are canceled.

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Say Ciao to chow?

According to Gulf News, UAE malls will continue to operate food courts in Ramadan, but service hours may be the most affected.

Shopping tourists and newly arrived expatriates in UAE will find that most dining venues are not offering food service out of respect for  Muslim worshippers who won’t break their fast until the sun fully sets.

“However, the majority of Dubai’s large shopping malls will have some of their food and beverage outlets operating during daylight hours throughout the holy month,”  the daily confirmed.

“Mall operators said food service will be available from 12 noon onwards, although some outlets may start catering to take away customers from 10 am.

Rabia Yasmeen, analyst at Euromonitor International, told Gulf News: “The overall growth has been slow during the past year and also continues to slag this year, which can be the main motivator to keep the outlets open and cater to the demand that exists from non-fasting residents and tourists.”

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Major Malls with operating food courts, restaurants:

Majid Al Futtaim (MAF)

Mall of the Emirates

City Centre Deira

Festival City Mall

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UAE’s Ministry of Economy has announced its annual reduction in prices that will affect over 10,000 products and goods, with discounts of up to 50% in 600 outlets across the UAE for the whole month.

Dr. Hashim Al Nuaimi, Director of Consumer Protection at the Ministry, said that cooperatives and supermarkets outlets in the UAE are expected to reduce the prices between 25-50%.

Some products will also be sold at cost price during the holy month.