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Dubai waves a green flag for reopening of spa services

by Arun Shirishkar

Salons and spas across the world have started to reopen slowly and cautiously after coming to a standstill due to COVID-19. On 4th of July, Dubai gave permission to massage and spa service owners to reopen

The Health and Safety department of Dubai circulated a guidance that needed to be strictly followed by every spa and massage service provider. Here is the list of precautions that need to be taken by them:

Guidelines for sanitation in the spa premises
1. Increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection during re-opening phase after every use (or minimum once every hour) by focusing on the followings:

• Cash counters and POS machines.

• Doors and stairs handle.

• All tools/material/equipment.

• Hand wash sinks.

• Personal hygiene.

• AC, lighting TV remote control.

• Washrooms, bath tubs, showering facilities…etc.

2. Spa and massage allowed to operate all services (excluding steam rooms, saunas, inhalation rooms, ice rooms, Jacuzzis, hot bath/Moroccan bath/Turkish hammam) inside hotels, malls, and grade A & B salons outside the malls.

3. An appropriate disinfection schedule should be adopted to ensure constant sanitization of the used area and avoid any harmful chemicals and materials that may compromise the health of individuals with respiratory illnesses or any medical conditions.

4. The facility should be completely sterilized post closure.

5. The service room and its equipment such as stones, wheel roller massage stick etc. must be cleaned and disinfected after each use and between clients.

6. Clean and disinfect the face cradle and change cover after each client

7. Items that are frequently shared, difficult to clean and/or not necessary to achieving treatment outcomes should be removed. Some examples may include: magazines and other entertainment items; water dispenser; product samples or testers; and re-usable refreshing hand towels.

8. Linens (including towels), blankets and pillows, bedsheets must be changed between clients, and washed and sanitized as per Dubai Municipality guidelines.

9. Disposable bed cover shall be provided and changed between clients.

10. The facility should assign a hygiene in charge from the team to supervise the daily and continuous cleaning and be trained on the best practices and DM requirements.

11. Special disposal bins to be made available at all key entrances and in common areas for medical waste [masks, gloves etc.] and these should be frequently cleared [minimum once every two hours].

12. Visitors shoes and belongings including bags are encouraged to be sanitized upon entry.

13. Mandatory provision of hand sanitizer dispensers across the facility and common areas.

14. Schedule appointments for clients in a way that allows enough time between them to implement new cleaning and disinfecting protocol and limit crowding.

15. Showering facilities, lockers and changing rooms are permitted conditional that cleaning and sanitization is performed after every use, or at a minimum once every hour, and social distancing must be maintained at all times in these areas. If operators are unable to maintain the strict cleaning, sanitization regimes, and social distancing rules then these facilities must be closed.

16. Each locker should contain individually wrapped amenity kits. Shared amenity kits in the changing area must be removed and only provided to clients upon request.

17. Providers must spray and sanitize all skincare bottles and products used after each treatment, where possible single use products to be provided.

18. Use disposable wood sticks while applying creams and scrubs.

19. Provide a proper ventilation for the rooms as per the DM guidelines.

Guidelines for the staff
20. All health & safety guidelines/standards are followed in staff accommodation & transport facilities in line with DM Health & Safety Guidelines [“DMHS”].

21. All protocols prescribed by DMHS must be adhered to prior to staff entering the premises.

22. Staff should wear masks at all times.

23. Staff are encouraged to wear gloves at all times, but they must maintain proper hygiene and hand washing regimes whenever they can. If used, gloves must be disposed of and changed between each client.

24. If anyone of the staff was confirmed positive according to a COVID-19 PCR test by an accredited facility, they are not to return unless they are granted a medical stating that they are discharged from isolation.

25. Therapist must adhere to a strict hand washing routine before and after every client.

26. All employees to be trained on DMHS Guidelines.

27. Measuring temperature of staff regularly and clients before entering. If client temperature exceeds 37.5 Celsius, he/she should be prohibited to enter the facility.

28. If a case of illness is detected amongst visitors or staff presenting COVID-19 symptoms such as fever (≥37.5 ̊C), cough, myalgia or fatigue, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, diarrhea and nausea, headache, or loss of sense of smell or taste, DHA hotline number 800342 should be contacted by the facility.

Guidelines for the facility
29. The facility administration must develop SOPs on how to handle COVID19 suspect/confirmed cases as well as the disinfection procedures as per DHA/DM guidelines.

30. The facility must maintain adequate records of its staff and visitors (whether users or individuals accompanying them), including names, telephone numbers and visit dates, to assist if contact tracing becomes necessary. And also to maintain accurate work records of staff for contact tracing purposes.

31. Ensure the 2m distancing measure is maintained throughout the facility except during the services being offered.

32. The facility should have clear floor markings and signage that indicate clear social distancing i.e. while queuing at the reception or separate seats in waiting areas by at least two (2) meters to ensure physical distancing of non-household members.

33. If there are elevators in the facility, they must have markings on the floor that indicate social distancing and users must comply by standing on these markings.

34. Where possible, space out all furniture to comply with social distancing guidelines including the relaxation lounges.

Guidelines for clients
35. Treatments are provided strictly by appointments.

36. No social gatherings or parties are allowed in the facility.

37. Only clients receiving the treatment can enter the facility, and they should arrive as close to their appointment time as possible.

38. Ensure the client washes their hands or use sanitizers upon arrival and after treatment.

39. Ensure managing number of clients at the locker, changing and shower facilities to avoid crowding.

40. Any F&B offering must be served in disposable or single use utensils and containers.

41. Visitors must wear masks at all times (except for the exempted segments as announced in the previous guidelines)

42. Touchless sanitizers should be available throughout the facility.

43. It is encouraged to offer visitors masks if it gets spoiled during the treatment.

44. The facility must designate bins to throw used items (preferably touchless) and should be indicated across the facility.

45. For staff eating areas, pantries can be opened for usage of staff only and strictly for food and drink consumption while maintaining a 2m physical distancing.

46. All food outlets seating, capacity and social distancing requirements to follow the previously announced guidelines for the F&B Sector.

47. Manual water dispensers are not allowed in the facility, only sealed water bottles or machine dispensers are allowed.

48. Promote smart payment solutions (cards, online and other related means).

49. All restrictions, new settings, practices and hygiene must be communicated to staff and visitors using different modes of communication (i.e. bookings website, screens in the facility, common areas in the facility, etc.).

50. Clear signage with guidelines should be provided across the facility premises.

51. Develop and communicate a Readiness Plan to ensure

that appropriate procedures are in place to safeguard the continuity of operations and safety of everyone in the facility.

52. All facilities must ensure appropriate infection control measures are applied and sanitization is accomplished pre-opening and on a daily basis. This can be arranged in- house or through an approved cleaning and disinfection company from the list provided by Dubai Municipality (DM) through https://www.dm.gov.ae/health-safety-approved-list/, or by contacting Dubai Municipality’s command room by dialing 8004006.

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