Abu Dhabi has issued guidelines for the reopening of hotels and their beaches, bars, restaurants, pools and gyms, which were previously shut under temporary measures aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus.
Hotels will be required to comply with the guidelines to reopen, said the statement from the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT). However, it did not say when they would be able to reopen.
“Having closed due to health and safety precautionary measures imposed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, hotels will now be able to reopen their facilities and resume trading as soon as approval is granted from DCT Abu Dhabi,” wrote the UAE’s official WAM news agency.
The rules included limited operating hours from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Hotels will also be required to have an isolation room to isolate any potential cases and a medical team on standby while open.
“The guidelines set out stringent criteria for the hotels to follow, which our inspectors will confirm with on-site visits. Once these high standards of health and safety are met, DCT Abu Dhabi will approve the reopening, and trading can resume,” said Ali Hassan al-Shaiba, the executive director of tourism and market at DCT Abu Dhabi.
Hotels will only be able to operate at 30 percent capacity, in measures similar to the current regulations at malls in the UAE. Staff will also be tested for COVID-19 before being allowed to return to work.
“We are adamant that both hotel staff and visitors should be 100 per cent confident in their own safety, as we start the resumption of ‘normal’ activities since the pandemic situation arose,” he added.
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Dubai reopens hotel beaches
The neighboring emirate of Dubai has already reopened hotel beaches ahead of Eid al-Fitr.
Hotel beaches in the city are now taking groups of less than five people, having previously shut due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In line with the Abu Dhabi capacity, hotel beaches are only allowed to open at a lower capacity of 30 percent to allow for social distancing, with access restricted to hotel guests and the sale of beach access tickets is prohibited.
Public beaches in both emirates remain closed.
Media outlets across the world have reported on crowds at beaches as a reflection of whether various governments' social distancing regulations are being followed.
In Australia, large crowds gathered to greet the reopening of beaches.
Watch: Hundreds of #Sydney residents rush into the waves at the city’s famous Bondi Beach as Australia took the first steps in easing #coronavirus restrictions.https://t.co/fYAGDj7O54 pic.twitter.com/c8AmPudZIG— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) April 28, 2020