Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates are advised not to eat, drink or smoke in public during the holy month of Ramadan as doing so could result in them being fined up to 2,000 dirhams (US$545).

Ramadan, which began on Sunday, is a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community for Muslims. During Ramadan, Muslims are only allowed to have meals before the sun rises, after which fasting lasts until sunset, The Filipino Times reported.

Muslims are also not allowed to drink water during their fast. Under Article 313 of the UAE’s Penal Code, it states that whoever is caught eating or drinking in public can be sentenced to a maximum of one month in prison or be fined up to 2,000 dirhams.

Non-Muslims in the UAE are advised to go to places out of public view if they need to eat or drink, to avoid offending Muslims. Filipino workers are advised to ask their managers or security personnel to guide them towards their pantry or designated area to eat or drink while at work.

Some UAE restaurants may also be open during the day, with their curtains closed. Filipinos are advised to follow the law to avoid trouble, and that the safest place for them to eat or drink is at their own home.