1.1390486-3166153008
Lobby of an Abu Dhabi hotel. The Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi on Sunday shared detailed guidelines with the emirate’s hotels in preparation for granting approvals to reopen the establishments’ restaurants, lounges, bars, beaches, pools and gyms. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News Archives

Abu Dhabi: The Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi has shared detailed guidelines with the emirate’s hotels in preparation for granting approvals to reopen the establishments’ restaurants, lounges, bars, beaches, pools and gyms.

Having closed due to health and safety precautionary measures imposed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, hotels will now be able to reopen their facilities and resume trading as soon as approval is granted from DCT Abu Dhabi. To obtain approval, the hotels must complete all the measures which are outlined in the document which DCT Abu Dhabi has compiled.

According to a statement issued by the department, the guidelines outline “readiness assurance requirements” that cover general measurements, social distancing rules, crowd control measures and rules for returning employees in order to resume trading safely.

Restricted hours

Some of the general rules include restricted operating hours for outlets, which can only be open from 06:00 until 19:00, the statement noted.

Additional rules include the sterilisation of the facilities on a regular basis, the provision of hand sanitisers at the facility entrance, the defining of clear and separate entry and exit points, and the installation of thermal cameras installed which have been integrated with the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority system.

Medical support

Also mandatory are an isolation room to isolate suspected coronavirus cases and a medical team that is on standby throughout operating hours. All visitors must also wear masks at all times and should be encouraged to use ‘smart’ payments as a preferred method to reduce contacts and contamination.

“As per our mandate to support and guide the tourism sector in Abu Dhabi in all aspects, the set of measures we have shared with our hotel partners will ensure that not only will they be able to resume trading at the earliest opportunity, but that when they do they will be following guidelines which will keep all members of the community safe and secure,” said Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi.

Stringent criteria

“The guidelines set out stringent criteria for the hotels to follow, which our inspectors will confirm with on-site visits. Once these high standards of health and safety are met, DCT Abu Dhabi will approve the reopening, and trading can resume. We are adamant that both hotel staff and visitors should be 100 per cent confident in their own safety, as we start the resumption of ‘normal’ activities since the pandemic situation arose,” he added.

The DCT Abu Dhabi guidelines also state strict social distancing and crowd control measures, which will also work to reassure staff and visitors that safety is paramount. Social distancing markings will be clearly defined on floors and escalators and elevators will be entirely dedicated to People of Determination.

Seating restrictions

Seating arrangements will stipulate that only four people will be allowed on each table, with 2.5 metres between each table.

Capacity for each establishment will be ‘capped’ at 30 percent only of the total capacity of the establishment, and restaurants and lounges will be required to hang signage at the entrance to indicate the maximum number of allowed customers are already inside.

No entertainment activities of any kind will be allowed to begin with, and visitors will only be allowed to visit the facilities for a maximum of 3 hours.

There will also be very strict rules for returning employees, with each employee having to undergo a COVID-19 test before being allowed back to work, with these being performed on a bi-weekly basis. Temperature checks will be carried out on all staff on a regular basis throughout working hours, with staff also trained for emergency response protocols for the COVID-19 virus.