Under-12, over-60 can now take part in sports activities, says Dubai Sports Council

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DUBAI: As life springs back to normalcy in the country following weeks of lockdown due to COVID-19, Dubai Sports Council has stepped up its efforts to restore the Emirate’s sports sector to full capacity by announcing two major decisions on Thursday.

In the first decision, the Council has allowed fitness centres and gyms, who were operating at maximum 50 percent as per earlier guidelines, to operate at 100 percent, while adhering to all the earlier COVID-19 precautionary measures and safety guidelines issued by relevant authorities.

There is also good news for children aged 12 and under, as well as elders aged 60 and above. Not allowed to take part in sports activities in the initial phase of reopening, they will now be able to enjoy their favourite sports activities as Dubai Sports Council has announced the removal of all age restrictions.

The two decisions come a day after the Council announced the return of sports competitions in Dubai, starting with marine sports. The first event – part of Dubai Offshore Sailing Club’s Summer Series – taking part this Friday. Competition will start at 7am, with the paddle boats taking to the waters off Dubai Offshore Sailing Club first, before the dinghy boats make their appearance starting 11am. The competition for yachts will take place later in the day from 3pm.

The Council has issued a detailed list of protocols, in accordance with the safety guidelines issued by Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management and other relevant authorities, for the restart of marine and water sports competitions, as well as for academies and fitness centres, who will be operating under the new regulations.

The facilities, among other things, will have to make sure they maintain the hygiene and sanitization requirements as mandated by authorities, which includes maintaining a regular cleaning regime, and ensure safe distancing is maintained at all times.

Shower facilities, lockers and changing rooms are permitted, conditional that cleaning and sanitisation is performed after every use, or at a minimum once every hour. The operators will also have to follow all the other safety protocols and guidelines – like the 2m social distancing, wearing masks, checking temperature of visitors, providing sanitisers, etc – that were issued previously by Dubai Sports Council.

Facilities unable to maintain social distancing, must reduce their capacity, while fitness centres need to make sure there are no more than two trainees with every Personal Trainer, and that the mandatory 2m distance is maintained between them.

Facilities are required to have a contingency/emergency plan in case of a possible COVID-19 patient on the premises, and contactless screening of guests, visitors and contractors is mandatory. If a person’s temperature exceeds 37.5 Celsius, he or she should not be allowed to enter the facility.

The regulations also require facilities to display public announcements, and awareness signage in highly visible areas. They must also maintain adequate records of their members, including names, telephone numbers and visit dates, to assist if contact tracing becomes necessary.

The facilities should also fully cooperate with officials from any government entity or concerned sports federation, who will be making site visits to ensure all restrictions and protocols are adhered to.

Sport venues need to submit a “Resumption of Activity” request in order to resume operations through the following link: www.dubaisc.ae/SportsPermitUnderCovid19.

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