Desert tours allowed to resume in Sharjah with strict Covid-19 measures in place

Authorities are keen to boost the tourism sector in the emirate

A ban on desert tours in Sharjah has been lifted as authorities seek to bolster the emirate's leisure economy.

Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority announced on Wednesday that tours and related activities were permitted to resume in line with strict Covid-19 safety measures.

Tight restrictions in place across the Emirates to curb the spread of the virus are gradually being eased, as part of a strategy aimed at slowly returning daily life to normal in the face of the ongoing challenges of a pandemic.

Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, chairman of the authority, said tour operators would be closely monitored to safeguard public health.

"We are implementing a strict schedule of inspection of establishments and activities through regular field visits under the supervision of an integrated team of SCTDA inspectors to ensure the issued precautionary measures are being followed and limit the spread of Covid-19," he said.

"We urge everyone to co-operate with us at SCTDA by putting into practice the guidelines that ensure the safety, health, and security of everyone."

The SCTDA has launched a guide for Sharjah tour operators detailing the raft of safety measures they must follow.

Food and beverages are not allowed inside the tour vehicle and instructions about safety measures must be provided in every vehicle.

Comprehensive and thorough disinfection of vehicles and public areas should be carried out.

The number of passengers must not exceed the capacity of the vehicle used.

A distance of at least two metres between people must be maintained during activities.

In addition, signboards must be placed around the vehicle reminding passengers to avoid crowding or gathering in one area and urging them to adhere to health and safety measures.

Tour operators are also required to provide a reservation system that enables health authorities to collect information to help trace contacts if necessary, in addition to adopting electronic payment methods.

Reception desks of tour firms must be equipped with plastic or glass partitions with minimal openings to accept payment transactions and facilitate the use of credit cards.

Regular sterilisation of premises must also be done under the comprehensive guidelines.

The UAE has recorded a rise in infections in recent days, with authorities calling on the public to abide by Covid-19 regulations.