Dubai, United Arab Emirates, June 17, 2020: The sun, sand and the sea are hard to resist but while enjoying the gorgeous beaches in the UAE, it is important to bear in mind that COVID-19 is still around and we cannot drop our guard, just yet.
In fact, precautionary measures we have been taking should be considered the new normal every time we leave the house says Dr Badria Al Harmi, Director of Public Health Protection Department at the DHA. “By now, we should be on track with basic prevention measures such as wearing a mask, maintaining social distance at all times and carrying hand-sanitisers with us whenever we step out of our house.”
“Anyone with symptoms should also stay home let alone go to the beach. This means that even if you have mild symptoms such as a sore throat, a mild fever or mild upper-respiratory symptoms or any flu-like symptoms, you should not step out of the house. We are all responsible and we need to think not only of ourselves and our family members but also about the community.”
The rules at the beach state that visitors must wear masks and social distance. No masks are necessary while in the water. Gloves are not necessary in open beaches; however, they must be worn in parks and closed areas.
Face masks and social distancing:
Social distancing must be maintained even when you are in the water
Al Harmi says, “When it comes to the beach, while we do not need to wear a mask in the water, it is important to maintain social distance of ideally two metres even when you are in the water.”
Plan ahead and follow all precautions in public areas:
Dr Harmi says, “Try to minimize what you need to touch. Keep wet wipes, tissues and hand sanitizers handy. Do not carry things you do not need and pack sensibly.
“ Use a tissue when you need to open and close the doorknob of a public restroom, thoroughly wash your hands and sanitize as well. You need to follow extra precautions in public restrooms whether it is a restroom on the beach or elsewhere such as in a restaurant or a mall.”
Dr Harmi added, “ Additionally, make sure you do not share personal items with others, carry your own beach mat, towel, sunscreen and water.”
Wear a mask and avoid touching your face:
It is advisable to avoid touching your face- your eyes, nose and mouth says Al Harmi. “Before eating or touching any food items or personal items, you must sanitise your hands.
“ At the beach, find a spot where you are maintaining a social distance from others, keep your mask on, do not fidget with the mask and wear it properly. Always keep a few spare masks in a sealed bag. If they need to use a new mask, sanitise your hands thoroughly before wearing it.”
Al Harmi said to follow precautionary measures when you reach home as well, “ Remove the mask and gloves before entering the house, remove footwear at the doorstep, disinfect the phone, car key and valet, wash hands thoroughly, put your clothes in the washing machine and immediately take a shower.”
She added that people should only rely on information from official sources and those who have any query can call the following numbers: DHA call centre -800 342, Estijaba service at the operation center, Department of Health – 8001717 or Ministry of Health & Prevention – 80011111.
Tips for beachgoers:
1. Ensure physical distancing at ALL times even in the water
2. Wear a facemask on the beach; it is not necessary in the water
3. Ensure that your group does not exceed five people
4. Carry your own beach mat, towel, sunscreen and water and do not share personal items
5. Follow all preventive precautions especially when using public spaces such as washrooms.
6. Keep a pocket-sanitiser, wet wipes and tissues at all times
7. Keep extra masks in a zip-lock bag and sanitise before using it.
8. Make sure to wash your hands or sanitise them before eating any food or touching your face- eyes, nose and mouth.
9. Bring your own food and drinks from your house. If you opt to eat out, make sure you ask for disposable cutlery. Ensure that the restaurant adheres to all preventive and precautionary measures.
10. Drink enough fluids and use sunscreen
11. Be up-to-date with the latest laws and guidelines.
12. Avoid paying in cash and use electronic payments like a credit or debit card instead to avoid touching banknotes.
13. Do not step out of your house if you have any respiratory-symptoms, a sore throat or even a mild fever.