Yes, I left the UK during lockdown to go to Dubai for 2 months over winter. I'm not an influencer and certainly wasn't getting free accommodation in exchange for a few Instagram posts, but I did have a couple of hotel stays in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but there was little beach and pool time as it's too cold at the moment. Ok it's still 25c, but when you're used to temps in the 40's in the summer, the sea does feel quite chilly.
Dubai's covid rules are different to the UK and change as the virus changes. At the moment no more than 4 in a coffee shop, 7 in a restaurant to sit together and tables 3ms apart. No indoor groups, but gyms and hairdressers are open. Malls and shops operating as normal, whilst Covid compliance officers are checking on numbers of shoppers, working practices, use of masks and hand sanitisers there's no one counting you in and out and taking your temperature any more.
Life in Dubai is very different to the UK, FULL STOP. I've family and friends around the world, locals and expats like us. Apart from a few countries with completely different demographics, Covid is behaving the same around the world. The number of deaths and cases differ depending on how or if they are reported. The UK is different because it's made up of different people, attitudes, entitlement (yes really). We don't choose to eat out often in the UK or go to the cinema or even visit nail bars and hairdressers. We spend our time in the UK with family, out door activities and with friends and as expats even though I'm back in the UK, I can't do any of that anyway, so it was nice to be able to have the option to be elsewhere.
I was in Dubai because I have a visa to live there with my husband for the past 6 years, however I've been spending more and more time in the UK over recent years and with us reclaiming our family home and relocating the cat and dog to the UK and covid hitting in March 2020 I've only spent 18 weeks there in the past 12 months. Only 14 weeks actually with my husband as he was away for one week with work then he managed to get shut in Saudi for an extra week when they closed their borders over night, I spent time in hospital with a slipped disc, had surgery and had then time in Abu Dhabi working on the golf.
I've received quite a bit of indirect criticism about being out in Dubai, but it's been my home for the last 6 years and my husband still lives and works there. I certainly wouldn't be contemplating travelling for a holiday, I'm more than happy to travel between the UK and Dubai as I have a home in both countries and can afford to isolate and pay for a hotel stay for quarantine purposes.
There have been brunches, coffees with friends, cinema trips, using public transport, pub quizzes, walks on the beach as well as:
8 x PCR tests
2 x hospital stays
2 x hotel stays
2 x working at major sporting events
Early March 2020 schools closed, by mid March Emirates stopped flying and the end of March, Dubai closed its borders. Curfews in place and permits required to leave home.
June and residents and citizens were allowed to fly back in. My husband wasn't allowed to fly as he was over 60. Under 12's also weren't allowed, as well as no access to malls.
July tourists allowed back in. Permission to travel from both UK and UAE required.
August and Peter was allowed to fly. 2 weeks isolation in the UK, then a PCR test required to fly back to Dubai. Same for me for my trip in September and 2 weeks isolation back in the UK.
October and citizens PCR on arrival, tourists PCR prior to travel and on arrival also. Isolate until results arrive.
Abu Dhabi has different rules which still require anyone entering to wear a tracking device while they are isolating for 10 days. A PCR test is required for residents of the UAE to cross the border also.