Hotels across the UAE have new guidelines to follow to ensure they operate safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
The guidelines were issued by The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority and apply to all hotels across the emirates, according to state news agency Wam.
The rules are designed to ensure the safety and well being of guests and staff, and have been curated in collaboration with other relevant authorities in the UAE. They are also updated in line with the easing of movement restrictions in some emirates.
There are 21 main points covered in the hotel guidelines, which advise on policies for physical distancing measures, cleaning and sanitising of guest rooms, health checks for staff and guests, as well as hygiene protocols for restaurants, cafes, swimming pools, beaches and health clubs.
Under the new guidelines, hotels must test staff for Covid-19 before reopening. Tests must then be repeated every 15 days. Infrared temperature scanners and thermal cameras must be installed in hotels to monitor the temperatures of guests and staff. Any one who has symptoms of a respiratory disease will not be allowed to enter the hotel or check-in, even if they have a paid-for reservation.
Isolation rooms and sectioned-off beaches
All hotels must have designated isolation rooms that are located near the entrance lobby. These will be used to isolate anyone who exhibits signs of the virus while staying in the hotel or resort.
All guest rooms in every hotel must also be kept vacant for 24 hours between guests to allow for proper hygiene protocols to be carried out.
There are also limits on the number of guests that can be in hotel restaurants, cafes, fitness centres or swimming pools at any time.
Restaurants can only operate between 6am and 9pm, with a maximum of four people allowed to sit at socially-distanced tables. There are also enhanced hygeine protocols for kitchen equipment, food surfaces and utensils.
Where swimming pools and beaches are open, they must be sanitised regularly and hotels must erect signs across these facilities reminding guests about physical distancing. Beaches must be divided into sections to avoid overcrowding. Each section of the beach will have a maximum capacity.
New safety rules for UAE hotels
Some utilities, including spas, children's play areas and prayer rooms will remain closed to maintain public safety.
Hotels will be regularly inspected by authorities to ensure that the guidelines are being followed. Local departments in each emirate may also request that hotels follow additional rules, so long as these are in line with the national guidelines.
Several larger hotel groups have also announced their own safety standards in partnership with hygiene companies and organisations across the globe.