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Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism has issued new safety guidelines for tour guides, desert camp operators and hotels on COVID-19 safety measures. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: A new set of safety guidelines now direct tour guides, desert camp operators and hotels on COVID-19 safety measures during tours and events in Abu Dhabi Emirate.

Issued in a circular by the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT Abu Dhabi), which regulates the tourism sector in the emirate, the measures allow 20 people to participate in tours of open spaces, and up to 10 people to visit closed spaces as part of a single tour.

COVID-19 testing, masking, and regular disinfection of equipment, make up some of the other requirements that tour guides and tour operators must ensure.

The DCT Abu Dhabi also specified that it will inspect these facilities to ensure compliance, and that “legal measures will be taken” against those found failing to adhere with the measures.

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Here are the guidelines issued:

-Tour guides must acquire the updated information on health and hygiene risk prevention guidelines in the activity.

-Maximum of 20 clients in open spaces and 10 clients in closed spaces are allowed per tour accompanied by one tour guide, with strict adherence to all precautionary measures.

-Tour guide should undergo COVID-19 testing before tour, and according to set frequency in relevant circulars.

-Tour guide can resume work if the test result is negative.

-If the tour guide experiences any symptoms of the disease, even if they are mild, they should refrain from providing the service.

-Tour guide must be instructed to install Al HOSN application.

-Temperature checks must be done to all individuals (tour guide and clients). Tour operators are responsible to provide thermometer and freelancing tour guides should provide it for themselves.

-Every client that has a body temperature of or higher than 37.3 Degrees Celsius, is escorted to a designated isolation room in proximity of the main entrance and the “Estijaba” service at the operation Centre Department of Health at 8001717 must be alerted in line with local COVID-19 rules and regulations. Alternatively, the suspected case should be directed to the nearest health care provider for evaluation. If the individual wants to leave the premises immediately this will be allowed, but guide should try to obtain ID and contact details.

-Clients for tours showing flu symptoms are to be denied access for the tour.

-Report any client who display flu symptoms to “Estijaba” service at the operation Centre Department of Health at 8001717.

-Tour guide must inform clients about applicable prevention and hygiene measures, restrictions, limitations or modifications to the service.

-The tour guide must inform the group of how the visit will be carried out, the route and the rules and/or possible restrictions applied by the various providers (museums, monuments, natural areas, etc.).

-The tour guide should urge clients to comply with the control measures.

-Tour guides to prepare one-way routes to avoid groups crossing whenever possible (small towns, historical centres), coordinating in any case with other tour guides. Tour guide must contact the attraction and confirm the booking for the tour.

-All clients and tour guides are required to wear masks at all times. Non-compliance will lead to refusal of entry to the facilities and tour.

-The tour guide who chooses to wear gloves must put them on in front of visitors and use them correctly, although hand washing before and after the visit and whenever equipment is shared is recommended.

-Clients must be instructed to avoid socialising with people outside of their own group.

-The safe physical distance of 2 meter between the tour guide and clients, and between clients themselves, should be maintained throughout the tour.

-Forms of greeting and/or saying goodbye that involve physical contact with the client should be avoided.

-Avoid greeting other tour guides, providers and clients with physical contact, including shaking hands.

-Ensure availability of hand sanitiser for the clients.

-Immediately throw away any personal hygiene waste -especially tissues-, including PPE in authorised waste bins or containers.

-Wash hands frequently with soap and water or, when this is not possible, with hand sanitiser. This is especially important after coughing or sneezing, and after touching potentially contaminated surfaces (knobs, railings, lifts, etc)

-Disinfect personal items (glasses, mobile phones, microphones, etc) frequently with soap and water and, if this is not possible, with a disinfectant solution. Use specific products applied with a cloth, or special disinfectant wipes, to disinfect electronic equipment.

-Properly disinfected or single-use headsets/whispers/radio guides should be used. If they are not single-use, the client will disinfect their hands before and after use. The client will return these devices, placing them all in a bag which will be sealed. Other alternatives can be considered.

-Client voice reception systems (headphones, whispers, etc) that are not single-use must always be disinfected at the end of the service and, in any case, before being used by another person.

-One disposable cover per person should be used for microphones that may be used consecutively by several tour guides.

-As a general rule, all materials used during the service must be disinfected at the end of the service.

-Avoid share work equipment or devices with other tour guides as much as possible. If certain equipment or devices are shared (walkies, radio guides, telephones, umbrellas, etc), the tour guide must establish cleaning and disinfection regime.

-Walking tours and stops for explaining monuments must be done in open and/or wide spaces, respecting the safe distance of 2 meter.

-The tour guide should coordinate with suppliers in order to avoid crowding when groups arrive.

-For attractions that have specific dress code guidelines, tourist guide must inform the visitors to dress properly and if the tour guide will provide some clothing, then it is must be for single-person-use.

-If clients are to be transported by cars organised by the organisation, the maximum number of people allowed in the car is 3 (including driver).

-If visitors are to be transported by buses, seating arrangement should respect physical distancing rule in each row.

-In particular, each passenger must sit in the same seat every time they get on the vehicle.

-Sanitiser gel and wipes must be available in the car and buses for guest use.

-Masks should be worn by all commuters throughout the journey.

-Vehicles must be cleaned & disinfected before/after each trip.

-Printed material such as maps, brochures, etc should be avoided. If this is not possible, they should be plasticised, and be easy to clean and disinfect, or be disposable.

-Avoid the use of cash and prioritise the use of cards or other electronic means, preferably contactless, when charging and paying for services and/or providers (e.g. prepayment online). If cash is handled, hands should be washed or disinfected as soon as possible.