Dubai permits the use of Aquatic facilities for Leisure and Sports

Stringent security and hygiene measures have been declared for aquatic facilities to ensure social distancing.

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Based on the directives of Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, Dubai Sports Council and Dubai Municipality have published the reopening of swimming pools and water sports activities in the emirate.

Dubai Municipality has published a comprehensive list of conditions, developed in cooperation with relevant authorities, that requires to be satisfied by aquatic centers, academies, and swimming pools to reopen.

The reopening order, however, is limited only to hotel establishments, health clubs/gym facilities, recreation clubs, and residential and commercial facilities. While, Water sports activities have been permitted to resume. Social gatherings, parties and events are still banned and excluded from the reopening order, along with massage services, spa, sauna, jacuzzi and pool bars.

All swimming institutes and aquatic sports centers who have a license in the field of aquatic sports and want to resume activities must receive the consent of Dubai Sports Council by registering through the link: dubaisc(dot)ae/sportspermitundercovid19

All swimming pools in the allowed category will have to undergo deep cleaning activities to reduce the risk of water-borne diseases and the facilities will also require to get a water quality test done prior to reopening.

Sanitation and Hygiene 

Opening facilities will have to assure that they sustain the hygiene and sanitization requirements as per Dubai Municipality guidelines, which involves maintaining a regular cleaning regime, water testing, and maintaining the chlorine concentration.

Facilities are also expected to clean and sanitize frequently touched surfaces and common areas at least once every hour and shared objects – handrails, lounge chairs, tabletops, pool noodles, kickboards, poolside showers, etc – each time they are utilized.

Facilities will also have to make sure visitors and users of the facilities maintain safe and desirable behavior before and during swimming, which means no spitting in the pool, washing their hands more often, covering their sneeze and coughs, and showering – in the side pool showers only – before and after using the swimming pool.

Shower facilities, lockers and changing rooms are permitted, on the condition that cleaning and sanitization are conducted after every use, or at a minimum of once every hour, and social distancing must be preserved at all times.

The facilities are not allowed to give towels as visitors and guests are expected to bring their own. Sunbeds must be covered with an extra layer of linen, which should be removed and replaced by new linen after every use. Sunbeds should be fully sanitized after every use.

Touchless hand sanitizers must also be accessible in all the common areas and ensure that ventilation/cooling and air conditioning systems for indoor spaces operate suitably with an adequate intake of fresh air.

Operators will also require to give all their staff with training on safety, hygiene and social distancing protocols, and all staff and guests/visitors/trainers must go through temperature screening before accessing the pool area. Anyone with a temperature equal to or more than 37.5˚C should not be permitted to access the pool.

Guests and visitors with underlying medical conditions, respiratory illnesses, or chronic diseases are not authorized to enter the swimming pool area.

Social distancing measures 

The orders also specify that all swimming pools and public aquatic venues administration must have an isolation room, and set schemes to handle COVID-19 suspect/confirmed cases as per Dubai Health Authority guidelines. If the swimming pool is within a facility that has an isolation room, then the current isolation room is adequate.

Visitors and pool users should keep two-meter social distancing at all times, both inside and outside the pool. Members of a single group (up to five members) can be seated together while maintaining four-meter social distancing between two groups.

Other requirements assert that sun-beds should be placed at a minimum distance of two meters between single people and four-meters between groups of people, and the operators should manage capacity in the pool to one person per four square meters. The capacity board should be placed at the entrance.

Pool staff, trainers and visitors must wear a face shield or mask at all times but shall remove it during the activity which requires body and face submersion, i.e. during swimming sessions inside the pool, when the coach is explaining techniques.