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A wedding hall in Sharjah. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Sharjah: The Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD) announced the reopening of wedding and event halls as part of the gradual plan for the return of economic and social activity in the emirate under the conditions of meeting the preventive requirements and measures.

The Department approved a circular carrying number of articles and conditions for the reopening of wedding and events halls, which goes in line with the preventive measures to limit the spread of the pandemic. This is aimed at preserving the health and safety of community members, ensuring the continuity of the business sector and continuing its role in achieving sustainable development in the emirate. At the same time, it paid attention to allowing the economic establishments to conduct business under the approved conditions and procedures stipulated in the circular.

Salim Ahmed Al Suwaidi, Deputy Director of Commercial Control and Protection Department at SEDD, said that the reopening of these sectors came within the gradual plan for the return of economic and social activity in the emirate. Also, it comes in accordance with the condition of applying the measures and standards specified in the circular. In addition, Al Suwaidi pointed out that the Commercial Officers in SEDD, in cooperation with the competent local authorities, will ensure compliance with these conditions.

Measures to be taken

Some of the measures include the necessity to wear face masks and gloves, and adhere to social distancing of 2 metres. Also, the conditions include that the attendance rate should not exceed 50 per cent of the hall’s capacity, as well as organising awareness campaigns for employees about the prevention and protection from infection with the coronavirus.

Al Suwaidi pointed out that the preventive measures for wedding and event halls also include that employees should follow the guidelines approved by the Ministry of Health and Prevention such as washing the hands, obtaining negative COVID-19 test results from accredited authorities before reopening halls, and applying protocols related to notifying health authorities of suspected COVID-19 cases.

Moreover, Al Suwaidi stated that it is a must to provide first aid services and personal protective equipment in addition to a dedicated space for isolating any suspected case and arrangements for transportation to a health care facility if needed. Those with symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever exceeding 37.5 degrees, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and fatigue should be prevented from entering the establishment.

In addition, SEDD identified a number of precautionary and preventive measures, including complete disinfection of halls before and after one day of any wedding or event as well as frequent sterilisation of tables, chairs, equipment, appliances, remote controls, electrical and electronic switches and door handles. Also, it included provision of hand sanitiser, napkins and steriliser dispensers on tables and others attached to walls near entrances, exits and other places that can be accessed as well as provision of a sterilisation area near to hall entrance and exit with a mobile sterilisation station and steriliser dispensers that should be renewed regularly.

SEDD requirements

Likewise, SEDD requirements include distribution of instructions and precautionary measures through posters or electrical boards around the halls and sanitising and cleaning toilets after each use and installation of hand sanitiser dispensers or dispensers filled with soap, in addition to provision of waiting distance indicators in toilets, entrances, exits, and food or distribution areas. Such conditions also include providing litter boxes with pedals lined with plastic bags in halls and deposing wastes according to followed procedures. Also, they include ensuring the availability of dedicated cleaners to regularly sterilise all entrances, elevators, escalators, or any facility or other surfaces subject to frequent contact.

Furthermore, offices, workplaces and equipment should be disinfected and cleaned. Likely, surfaces subject to frequent contact should be regularly sanitised and cleaned. In addition, food and beverage employees and service personnel must wear appropriate uniforms along with single-use masks and gloves, in addition to covering hair well at all times.

Al Suwaidi stressed that Commercial Officers in SEDD will continue to implement inspection campaigns on all economic establishments in Sharjah during the current period. He also added that SEDD would not be complacent in taking measures against any establishment that does not abide by the decisions and controls issued by the concerned authorities. Likely, he pointed to the importance of cooperation between all authorities in the emirate to achieve the desired goals that have been set for the protection of society in the current circumstances.