Over 50% Nurseries In UAE Might Close Down If Reopening Dates Are Delayed

by Vaishnavi Venkataraman
Over 50% Nurseries In UAE Might Close Down If Reopening Dates Are Delayed

Dubai is now open fully! Malls, parks, theaters, and beaches in the city are now open and in fact, the city has also started welcoming tourists. In addition, schools are also set to reopen in September. However, nurseries in the city await a reopening date. Nurseries suspended in March right after the pandemic broke open and haven’t reopened ever since.

There are approximately 300 nurseries operating in Dubai alone, employing around 15,000 people in total. 10 per cent of nurseries have not survived the suspension since March. The number could rise to 50% if the situation persists.

Speaking on a zoom meeting earlier, senior figures from some of the UAE’s biggest nurseries said they haven’t received a timeline on when and if nurseries can reopen in September. They further added that more nurseries could shut permanently if reopening guidelines were not announced.

CT Dubai spoke to leaders in the Dubai’s nursery sector and here’s what they had to say. Meanwhile, Dubai Schools Reopen In September: Are Parents Ready To Send Their Kids Back To School

Higher Risk Of Collapse

Shaun Robison, Governor, of IDEA Nursery said that since March, the nursery sector in Dubai has not received any support with liquidity. This has increased the sector’s risk of collapse. He further added that there is a 300 million dirham impact overall, and it will be bigger if nurseries do not reopen at full capacity, like schools.

“The nursery sector in Dubai needed AED 150 million on liquidity from March until August to have a chance at survival. This would have been 50% of term 3 fees for all nurseries which did not come at all. The sector is at risk, the leaders of the sector should be heard. Others countries have already reopened, and the expertise in the UAE is global. Trust us, and give us certainty, like all other sectors”, Robison told CT Dubai. Meanwhile, check out how UAE Salons Use Unique ‘Box’ Technique To Ensure Hygiene. 

No Clarity On Reopening

Lama Chivi, CEO of Babilou- a group that operates 500 nurseries in France and Europe, and 12 in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, said her nurseries in France have been operational since 11 May, at 74% capacity. She also added that all nurseries in Germany have reopened while those in the USA and the UK are operating at 80% capacity. Besides, nurseries in Singapore have also been operational from 2 June, she said.

Meanwhile also read this story on how A 12-Year-Old Girl In Dubai Swam For 50km At Home To Support Frontline Workers.

“When we reopen our operations are going to be at least 20 percent more expensive. We’re going to have more teacher to child ratios so more staffing, plus additional costs of hygiene and cleaning in terms of equipment or people. To run the same nursery we will be incurring an additional 20 percent in operational and HR costs,” Lama told CT Dubai.

High Redundancy

The uncertainty in reopening has also led to workforce in many nurseries becoming redundant. Diana Keidan, area director for Odyssey Nursery, part of Kids First Group said over 400 staff in their nursery are working at a reduced salary and 10% of them have been been made redundant. The situation could worsen if things don’t stabilize at the earliest, she added.

“We supported our team and all the staff were still getting their salaries, partially since March until now. We don’t know how much we can sustain in supporting our staff”, Diana told.

Furthermore, nurseries will take a bigger beating if schools reopen before, as parents will have to choose or prefer to go to schools rather than register in a nursery. Meanwhile, check out these 5 Restaurants In Dubai Where Kids Can Eat For Free.

Struggle For Survival

Nurseries that were looking at major expansions are now struggling to survive ever since the pandemic broke out. Umair Tariq, CEO, Middle East & Africa at Kïdo Education said they planned to expand, but are now struggling to survive. Tariq added that at least 10% of nurseries have shut down in the UAE and the number will increase if reopening dates are not announced anytime soon. On another note, This Student Cycled 3218 Km In 48 Days To Reunite With His Family In Greece.

“If we do not receive guidance for reopening in the next couple of weeks, and if we do not receive guidance to reopen at full capacity, I think our estimations are that at least 50 percent of nurseries could close down across the UAE,” Tariq added.