New Covid curbs on beach visitors

VISITORS to the beach must maintain a distance of at least two metres from each other at all times, and fill out a health questionnaire, as part of new rules, it has emerged.

The guidelines, published in the Information Affairs Ministry’s newsletter yesterday, are aimed at protecting people from the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

The series of measures outlined by Health Minister Faeqa Al Saleh make it mandatory on the operators of beaches and tourist establishments to have their guests and employees fill out a questionnaire providing their names, addresses and contact information.

They will also have to answer questions about their health and if they have had any symptoms of Covid-19 in the previous 14 days.

They are also required to mention if they have been in contact with anyone showing Covid-19 symptoms or has been diagnosed with the disease, if they were living with anyone who was quarantined at home; if they answer yes then the management must turn them away.

All guests must wear masks when interacting with other people and if they do not comply with the directives, they will be asked to leave the establishment.

The operators of these establishments must also make sure that their employees practise good personal hygiene while also ensuring the general area is clean.

“The management must test all employees and guests with infrared scanners to make sure of their temperatures, if they reach or exceed 37.5 or show that they have symptoms of Covid-19 then they cannot be allowed to enter and must call 444 immediately,” said the document.

“The management must provide a sanitiser with an alcohol concentration of not less than 70 per cent, at the entrance and at several places along the beach, and all employees must wear gloves and masks at all times at work.

“The management must have signs indicating which way to go at entrances and exits and ensure people abide by social distancing at all times and ensure the maximum number of people in one group is five,” the document added.

The management must also have contact information of all the employees; signs must also be posted that show clear instructions on how people should wash their hands and the Health Ministry’s new cleanliness standards which are available on the ministry’s website must be displayed.

“Employees must make sure that guests (whether alone or in groups) keep a two-metre distance between each other, and rearrange the chairs and seating by the beach to make sure that there is a safe distance between everyone, to minimise human contact.

“All amenities must be sanitised up to the standards laid out by the ministry, all tools and equipment being rented out must be cleaned and sanitised after every use.

“All towels must be cleaned with 80 degree water or higher but not to the point of boiling, and all showers, saunas and changing rooms and other shared areas except for bathrooms must remain closed until further notice.

The toilets must be cleaned and sanitised after every use, all electronic devices cleaned before leaving work, all personal items left by guests must be disposed of properly, and the management must also provide an adequate number of bins which are cleaned regularly.

In addition to these stipulations there are ones for beaches that have retail shops near them or as part of the beach which require them to abide by the same rules for retail shops in malls.

“Customers are encouraged to pay their bills electronically; employees must help the customers with the shopping to minimise contact with the goods, and when they want to make their purchases they must abide by the signs on the floor while waiting in line; all food vendors must close their dining areas and only serve take-away.

“These establishments will be inspected to make sure they are abiding by the guidelines and will be forced to close their beaches if they are in violation,” said the document.




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