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People at The Beach in Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) in Dubai. 6th June 2020. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan, Gulf News

Dubai: Beaches may be open, but while visiting it is important to observe safety measures, said a senior Dubai Health Authority (DHA) doctor on Wednesday.

“Takng basic precautionary measures such as wearing masks, social distancing and using hand sanitiser is now considered the new normal every time we leave the house,” said Dr Badria Al Harmi, Director of the DHA’s Public Health Protection Department.

No masks while in water

“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,” she added.

On the beach while it is mandatory to wear masks, 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.

Social distancing has to be maintained even when people step into the the water: “The ideal distance should also be two metres while in water,” said Dr Harmi.

Use a tissue to touch a doorknob of a public restroom

Dr Harmi added that planning well in advance, packing sensibly for the beach and keeping wet wipes, tissues, hand santisers handy could help people minimise the need to touch that could potentially be a source of contamination. “Use a tissue to touch doorknobs of a public restrom and do not forget to thoroughly wash your hands and sanitise as well after visiting a public washrom. One needs 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,” she added.

Dr Harmi cautioned people about sharing personal item such beach mats, towels, sunscreen and water with others on the beach and advised residents to carry their personal items with them while going to the beach.

Wear a mask and avoid touching your face

pc小群正规群It is advisable to avoid touching one’s face, eyes, nose and mouth, said Dr Harmi, and while touching food or other personal items before eating or touching any food items or personal articles, it is important for people to remember to sanitse their hands, she added.

“At the beach, find a spot which helps you maintain the mandatory two metre 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 one needs to use a new mask, sanitise hands thoroughly before wearing it.”

Al Harmi also asked people to follow precautionary measures when reaching home after a beach visit.

pc小群正规群“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 advised residents to not believe in hearsay and rely on information from official sources. Those who have any query can call the following numbers: DHA call centre -800 342, Estijaba service at the operation centre, Department of Health – 8001717 or Ministry of Health & Prevention – 80011111.

Tips for beachgoers:

  • Ensure social distancing at all times even in the water
  • Wear a facemask on the beach; it is not necessary in the water
  • Ensure that your group does not exceed five people
  • Carry your own beach mat, towel, sunscreen and water and do not share personal items
  • Follow all preventive precautions especially when using public spaces such as washrooms
  • Keep a pocket-sanitiser, wet wipes and tissues handy at all times and use these to frequently sanitise and clean hands
  • Keep extra masks in a zip-lock bag and sanitise before using it
  • Make sure to wash your hands or sanitise them before eating any food or touching your face- eyes, nose and mouth
  • 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