Dubai: Entrances to parking lots of several major malls in Dubai were closed on Friday as visitors flocked to shopping centres to take advantage of a massive three-day sale.
The malls remain open for business, but their parking lots have been closed due to being full.
Watch: Congestion at the Mall of the Emirates parking lot. Video by Sajila Saseendran/Gulf News
The parking lots will stay closed until more parking space becomes available as cars leave, according to Dubai Police.
Brigadier Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, director of Traffic Department at Dubai Police, told Gulf News they closed the entrances to Dubai Mall, Mirdif City Centre and Mall of the Emirates from 4pm.
“We closed the entrances because the parking lots in those malls were totally full,” Brigadier Al Mazroui said.
Watch: Timelapse from Mall of the Emirates. Video by Sajila Saseendran
Dubai Police are coordinating with the mall managements in closing the gates and diverting traffic to alternative parking areas.
“There are alternative parking lots around the malls and our officers are diverting the traffic to them. The gates will remain closed until the visitors leave the malls,” he added.
He urged shoppers and visitors to use taxis to reach the malls.
Watch: Super sale rush at Dubai Mall. Video by Sami Zaatar/Gulf News
"Finding parking took one hour, and before that there was traffic on the road that leads to the mall for more than 20 minutes," Mall of the Emirates visitor Norle Serviano told Gulf News.
"I was actually surprised because I came last Friday and it was norma. I wasn't expecting there to be so many people. I actually didn't know there was a sale but I am glad there was, because I have done some shopping now taking advantage of the discounted prices."
Watch: Current rush at Dubai Mall. Video by Sami Zaatar/Gulf News
Mall of the Emirates witnessed serpentine queues of people at cash counters.
Many shoppers took public transport while others parked their cars elsewhere to get into the mall for the Super Sale.
A spokesperson for Majid Al Futtaim Properties, owners of City Centre Mirdif and Mall of the Emirates, urged shoppers to use public transport to make the shopping experience better.
“All of Majid Al Futtaim’s malls in Dubai are welcoming shoppers enjoying the three-day Super Sale. Due to high traffic volumes and parking congestion, we recommend using public transport where feasible,” said the spokesperson.
Yasir Sayed, a banker who lives in Sharjah, said he took his family to MoE on Friday after finding out on Thursday that the Super Sale is happening only in Dubai.
"The parking was almost full on all floors and we had to go to the topmost floor and wait there. We were lucky that we got in before the police closed the entrance. We were actually planning to wait for another 15 minutes for one man to take out his car. But luckily another guy finished his shopping and took out his car first."
Ramesh D, who works with a construction company, said he and his friends parked their car in a construction site near MoE.
Watch: Dubai Mall still busy. Video by Sami Zaatar/Gulf News
"We did not come because of the sale. We just came to spend time at the mall and also buy a mobile phone for my friend. But we did not even try to park here because we saw the rush outside the mall," he said.
Praseetha Rajesh, a pharmaceutical product manager, said her family parked their car at Lulu Hypermarket and walked across to MoE.
"One of my friends who already went to MoE called up and told us about the parking issue. It took about half an hour for her to get parking.
"So she warned us. We couldn't avoid coming here because my husband has to do some last-minute shopping before he flies to India tonight," she said.
A child who got lost at Mall of the Emirates being led back to his parents after they contacted security. (Image Credit: Sajila Saseendran)
Ermie M said she took the bus from Dubai Sports City to MoE because her employer, who went shopping on Thursday night, warned her about the rush.