People over the age of 60 can now use gymnasiums in Dubai. Image Credit:

Dubai Sports Council (DSC) has stepped up its efforts to restore sporting life to normal following the COVID-19 outbreak by announcing two new key decisions. Fitness centres and gyms — which were operating at maximum 50 per cent — can now operate at 100 per cent, while adhering to all coronavirus precautionary measures and safety guidelines issued by relevant authorities.

It was also announced on Thursday that children aged 12 and under and adults aged 60 and above — who were not permitted to take part in sports activities in the initial phase of reopening — will now be able to partake in sports activities as DSC has announced the removal of all age restrictions.

The two decisions come a day after the Council announced the return of sports competitions in Dubai, starting with marine sports. The first event — part of Dubai Offshore Sailing Club’s Summer Series — begins on Friday. Competition will start at 7am with the paddle boats taking to the waters, before the dinghy boats begin at 11am. The competition for yachts will take place later in the day from 3pm.

The DSC has issued a detailed list of protocols, in accordance with the safety guidelines issued by Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management and other relevant authorities, for the restart of marine and water sports competitions, as well as for academies and fitness centres, who will be operating under the new regulations.

The facilities will have to make sure they maintain the hygiene and sanitisation requirements, which include maintaining a regular cleaning regime, and ensure safe distancing is maintained at all times.

Shower facilities, lockers and changing rooms are permitted, conditional that cleaning and sanitisation is performed at least once every hour. The operators will also have to follow all the other safety protocols and guidelines — such as two-metre social distancing, wearing masks, checking temperature of visitors, providing sanitisers — that were issued previously by DSC.

Facilities unable to maintain social distancing, must reduce their capacity, while fitness centres need to make sure there are no more than two trainees with every Personal Trainer, and that the mandatory distance is maintained between them.

Facilities are required to have a contingency/emergency plan in case of a possible COVID-19 patient on the premises, and contactless screening of guests, visitors and contractors is mandatory.