Anavizio data shows relief tempered by anxiety as UAE public reacts to easing of Covid-19 restrictions

Mixed reactions by UAE social media users to official announcements on the resumption of commercial and leisure activities

The easing of Covid-19 restrictions across the UAE since late May has by and large been welcomed by the public despite lingering concerns about safety, analysis of social media posts in relation to official announcements shows.

The study – conducted by analytics and technology consultancy Anavizio – captured 8,000 social media posts from 24 May to 21 June, including updates by local and federal UAE authorities as well as the media along with social media users’ reaction to these.

Detailed analysis of a random sample of user posts and comments show 22 percent expressing happiness about the initial of reopening of businesses and the reopening of restaurants, beaches and hotels in late May and early June. However, 15 percent of users questioned whether the easing of restrictions was coming too early while a small number, 10 percent, expressed concerns about the resumption of specific activities such as the reopening of gyms.

Public attitudes evolved during the four weeks covered by the study, with 17 percent of users expressing increased confidence in visiting beaches and restaurants during the latter part of the research period. Nevertheless, concerns remained around public safety and the state of the economy.

Posts by official bodies such as the Abu Dhabi and Dubai Media office gained high amounts of traction and were widely shared, while His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council proved to be a major voice amplifying government messages. The influence of the media was likewise high in terms of distributing news and updates.