While much of the UK is now closed for both business and pleasure – with no end to the final lockdown likely by spring – those with the money, time and an appetite for glamor seem to have made it to the Middle East's dazzling vacation playground by now.
When Boris announced that he would put the nation in a third, very strict lockdown shortly after 8 p.m. on Monday, January 5, he effectively slammed the suitcases for the next six weeks – but by the eleventh hour, many appear Fled Dubai to enjoy much more relaxed Covid rules. Instagram has been full of families and reality TV stars for the past few days showing off the fun they have on their sunny New Year breaks.
In fact, tourists who traveled after the Prime Minister classified parts of the country as Tier 4 on Sunday, December 20, appear to have gotten very well with the rules violations and are unlikely to be at their return must be scrutinized.
The sun-drenched emirate has worked hard to reassure tourists that it will like five-star hotels, restaurants and bars, all of which are operated on a near-normal level, and attractions like Wadi Rum water park and Ski Dubai indoor ski slope used to work, still taking a lot of bookings from tourists.
While other vacation destinations require a negative Covid test prior to departing from the UK, which costs around £ 149 per person, Dubai has offered this for free upon landing at the airport for those arriving without the required documentation, compared to 600 per family to many other countries.
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Exodus to the Middle East: Thousands of British tourists are currently basking under the Middle East sunshine after fleeing before Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the final national lockdown on Monday 5th January – and many who previously opposed the Breaking the rules by falling for the sun in Tier 4
HOW MUCH BUSINESS IS IN DUBAI?
While Covid restrictions certainly exist, very different rules currently apply to those who wake up in Dubai. The emirate's famous luxury restaurant scene – which includes Nobu, The Ivy and Gordon Ramsays Bread Kitchen – continues to thrive. Partitions and masks are enforced, but no one has to wear them while sitting.
The table numbers are also remarkably generous. The UAE governors set a limit of eight people in October and it remains in place. Hotels, including the eye-catching six-star Burj Al Arab, have introduced digital check-ins, masks in public areas, and temperature checks.
Wadi Rum Water Park, Dubai's most famous tourist attraction, has social distancing and safety measures, including hand sanitizer, but remains open, as does Ski Dubai, the emirate's indoor snow park.
Beaches are open and shopping malls, including the largest, the Dubai Mall, only require masks and social distancing to ensure the British have their money free while on vacation.
Wadi Rum water park, Dubai's premier water attraction, has Covid measures, but allows theme park lovers to participate largely as usual
The vacation destination is almost as usual for business, with restaurants like Nobu (pictured) that have tables for up to eight people and don't need masks when seated
Ski Dubai: There's no chance of the Alps this winter, but Dubai's impressive snow area is open with social distancing measures
A number of reality stars shared pictures of themselves enjoying NYE in Dubai, and Hayley Hughes shared this photo – many managed to escape Tier 4 by traveling to the emirate on business and promoting companies they serve work out there
Have British tourists in Dubai made rules to get there?
While Tier 4 restrictions would theoretically have deterred vacationers from traveling to Dubai if they didn't meet the government's strict rules for international travel – business or family emergencies – Levels one through three were more relaxed and gave thousands the green light for that Boarding flights.
It is clear, however, that Tier 4 relied on self-control so many would have broken the rules to take one final break for the sun.
Brits who have flown out in the past few weeks had to prove a negative Covid test 96 hours before departure. If they can't provide paper evidence at Dubai International Airport, they would have received a free polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Test on arrival. Children under the age of 12 did not have to prove that they were free of Covid.
Instagram influencers who consider social media their full-time job were potentially able to make the 7-hour flight by classifying the trip as business. Many who share pictures during the holiday season have posted sponsored posts promoting companies they work with.
… AND CAN YOU COME BACK?
While those stuck under the icy January skies might wish that those currently enjoying the Dubai sunshine didn't enjoy an easy return to the UK, chances are they are fine. Anyone who tests positive in the emirate has to isolate for ten days.
Current UK guidance suggests no immediate return is required, although the government has proposed introducing new rules that would require a negative Covid test to land on UK soil.
Let's Shop: The Dubai Mall, famous for couture brands, has enforced masks and social distancing, but all non-essential retail stores remain very open
Brits who have flown out in the past few weeks had to prove a negative Covid test four days prior to travel, and if they can't, they would have received a free PCR test upon arrival
CAN YOU STILL LEAVE?
The government has steadfastly warned that even leaving your home during the current lockdown is against policy. That said, flights didn't stop.
A family with two adults and three children could board a flight to Dubai International Airport tomorrow, although economy tickets on Middle Eastern airline Emirates currently cost around £ 2,200 each.
British Airways told MailOnline: & # 39; We are reviewing our flight schedule following the announcement of new national lockdown restrictions. Our focus is on keeping vital air connections open – transporting essentials and ensuring that those who are allowed to travel can continue to do so safely. As always, if a customer's flight is canceled, we offer a number of options, including a full refund. & # 39;
It is unclear how many people will be informed of their reasons for travel. Upon arrival, anyone traveling to Dubai must demonstrate to be free of Covid through a test in the UK or a PCR test on arrival.
HAVE TOURISTS FOLLOWED REALITY TV STARS THAT PUBLISHED CHRISTMAS FROM THE GLITZY EMIRATES?
There were tons of Middle Eastern reality stars on New Year's Eve in 2021. Olivia Bowen, Chloe Ferry, and Georgia Steele posted photos of themselves without a mask as they danced into the new year. Yesterday, Geordie Shore star Ferry posted a bikini snapshot of himself on a boat in front of one of the more luxurious hotels in Dubai.
Last week, TOWIE star James Lock, who has 903,000 followers on Instagram, posted photos of himself flying to the UAE in first class and has since shared several glamorous pics of himself with girlfriend Yazmin Oukhellou, both of whom are one Enjoying a sumptuous dinner and working on his laptop, working on his business level up lifestyle.
TOWIE star James Lock flew to the emirate in first class last week and shared photos of his trip with his 903,000 followers, James and girlfriend Yazmin Oukhellou, who pose for a moment over dinner
Former Geordie Shore star Chloe Ferry shared this photo at night on the beach with the shimmering skyline of Dubai behind
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