Cheers! Abu Dhabi lifts alcohol restrictions
Authorities in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi have abolished the requirement for permits to purchase and consume alcohol, according to an official circular, after neighboring Dubai also moved to relax rules earlier this year.
The changes come as both the emirates, among seven in the United Arab Emirates federation, seek to rebuild their tourism industries after the coronavirus shutdown, and also prepare for visitors from Israel after a landmark agreement to normalize relations signed last week.
“We are announcing the cancellation of permits for alcohol, and residents and tourists will have the right to buy it in authorized stores,” said the circular from the Department of Culture and Tourism.
The directive said buyers must be at least 21, that the alcohol must not be resold, and that it should be consumed in a private home or an authorized place such as a club.
The circular ends a legal grey area in the emirate. Although liquor stores in Abu Dhabi do not usually ask for permits to sell alcohol, sales were technically still subject to those rules.
The sale of alcohol is permitted in six of the seven emirates in the UAE, but is prohibited in conservative Sharjah which remains “dry” with no pubs or bars.