UMM AL QAiWAIN // Commercial centres, shops and industrial facilities will be allowed to operate past midnight after the introduction of a special licence.
The Umm Al Qaiwain Department of Economic Development was working with other departments to issue the licences, said Rashid Al Ghaoui, the director general of the licences section.
"We have had several requests from different companies to allow them to work for 24 hours," Mr Al Ghaoui said. "This would streamline better services and also allow residents opportunities to shop even late in the night."
A circular from the department said establishments allowed to remain open for 24 hours must meet the department's requirements.
Among those is a guarantee of enough security for patrons and workers, and ensuring operations do not disturb residents living in the area.
About 100 businesses have already received the licences.
Several residents said the programme would help the emirate's development to keep pace with that of the others.
"The emirate was so dark at night and this was not good for development," said Abdul Qader Al Zarouni. "There is no more sleeping in the UAE. Other emirates like Dubai are alive throughout the night."
Mohammed Jatala, another resident, said it was disappointing there was no place to buy goods after midnight in the emirate.
"For the last three years I have been here, I have not seen even a single pharmacy open after midnight," Mr Jatala said. "If you had an emergency at night that needs medicine, one had to go to Ajman."
"Khalid", a supermarket salesman, said UAQ was the only emirate that made shops like his close at night, meaning they were at a disadvantage with shops in other emirates offering 24-hour service.