Hotel swimming pools reopen in Dubai

Operators are required to enforce a maximum capacity of one pool user per four square metres

Swimming pools have reopened in Dubai following orders from the emirate’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management and Dubai Sports Council
Swimming pools have reopened in Dubai following orders from the emirate’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management and Dubai Sports Council

A select number of swimming pools have reopened in Dubai following orders from the emirate’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management and Dubai Sports Council.

The green light has also been given for water sports activities to resume.

However, the reopening mandate is limited only to hotel establishments, health clubs/gym facilities, recreation clubs, and residential and commercial facilities.

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Social gatherings, parties and events are still barred and excluded from the resumption order, along with massage services, spa, sauna, jacuzzi and pool bars.

Prior to reopening, all swimming pools in the permitted category will have to undergo deep cleaning to minimise the risk of water-borne diseases and the facilities will also need to get a water quality test done.

On reopening, facilities will have to ensure they maintain the hygiene and sanitisation requirements as per Dubai Municipality guidelines, which includes maintaining a regular cleaning regime, water testing, and maintaining the chlorine concentration.

They are also required to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and common areas at least once every hour, and shared objects - handrails, lounge chairs, table tops, pool noodles, kickboards, pool side showers, etc - each time they are used.

Facilities will also have to make sure visitors and pool users maintain safe and desirable etiquette before and during swimming, which means no spitting in the pool, washing their hands more often, covering their sneeze and coughs, and showering - in the side pool showers only - before and after using the swimming pool.

Shower facilities, lockers and changing rooms are allowed, on the condition that cleaning and sanitisation is performed after every use, or at a minimum of once every hour, and social distancing must be maintained at all times.

The facilities are not permitted to provide towels - visitors and guests must bring their own – and sunbeds must be covered with an extra layer of linen, which should be removed and replaced by a new linen after every use. Sunbeds should be fully sanitised after every use.

Touchless hand sanitisers must also be available in all the common areas and ensure that ventilation/cooling and air conditioning system for indoor spaces operate properly with an adequate intake of fresh air.

Operators will also need to provide all their staff with training on safety, hygiene and social distancing protocols, and all staff and guests/visitors/trainers must go through temperature screening before entering the pool. Anyone with a temperature equal to or more than 37.5˚C should not be allowed to enter the pool.

Guests and visitors with underlying medical conditions, respiratory illness, or chronic diseases are not allowed to enter swimming pool area.

The protocols also stipulate that all swimming pools and public aquatic venues administration must dedicate an isolation room, and set procedures to handle COVID-19 suspect/confirmed cases as per Dubai Health Authority guidelines. If the swimming pool is within a facility that has isolation room, then the current isolation room is sufficient.

Visitors and pool users should maintain two-metre social distancing at all times, both inside and outside the pool. Members of a single group - up to five members - can be seated together, while maintaining four metre social distancing between two groups.

Other stipulations state that sun-beds should be placed at a minimum distance of two metres between single people and four-metres between groups of people, and the operators should maintain capacity in the pool to one person per four square metres. The capacity signage should be placed at the entrance.

Pool staff, trainers and visitors must wear face shield or mask at all times, but shall remove it during the activity which require body and face submersion, i.e. during swimming sessions inside the pool, when coach is demonstrating techniques.

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