Abu Dhabi: The India Social and Culture Centre (ISC) has reopened its doors for the Indian community after six months from Saturday, obtaining necessary permits from the government authorities, president of the ISC, Yogesh Prabhu, told Gulf News.
Due to spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the centre was shut down for community people as precautionary measures to protect the members of the community from coronavirus infections and limit its spread into the community.
The oldest and largest social organisation of Indians in the capital, the ISC has more than 1,800 members from all parts of India. However, on first day of opening only a few people turned up to the centre.
All games and activities have restarted at the centre, except the swimming pool. A maximum of 12 persons are allowed to enter the badminton court at a time in a slotted time frame then another 12 people will be permitted to play to maintain social distancing and precautions, he said.
Six to eight persons are permitted to enter the gym at a time.
“We have received the permission of opening from the Ministry of Community Development and we are all very delighted. We have informed our members to rejoin the centre and start availing the world-class indoor and outdoor facilities,” Prabhu said.
Most ISC members are businessmen and professionals such as lawyers, financial advisers and bankers etc.
Established in a small building in 1967, the ISC celebrated golden jubilee in 2017 in its Dh35-million five-storey building that has several sports and games facilities, and provisions for cultural and recreational use.
“Since we opened the centre, only a handful community people turned up but since we informed them, more people would come in days to come,” he said.
“All precautionary measures including thermal screening at the entrance and regular sanitisation of the premises are being carried out in a measured way,” Prabhu said.
“Once a member enters the premises, he will be asked about the facility he is willing to use, and he would be permitted, if it’s not overcrowded. They will have to wait until it’s ready for another lot of people,” he said.
As community support during the pandemic, the centre recently allocated a free space to Air India Express for ticketing purposes. The carrier vacated the premises after 41 days, Prabhu said.
Located on Mina Zayed Road on Abu Dhabi Island, the centre opens at 6am and closes at 10pm daily.