So this week, things are opening up here in Dubai. Personally I am now starting to venture out of my safe space and support some of the businesses that I have missed the most, and that have been struggling during these difficult times. Seeing all of the hard work that has obviously gone into making sure these places can accommodate us safely and comfortably, I wanted to take this week’s blog post to thank the teams responsible.
Starting with the place that I have missed the most, I was delighted to get back in the gym this week. Temperatures are checked on arrival (my gym is in Springs Souk, so it’s actually checked twice – once one entry to the mall, and again on entry to the gym), you have to book a time slot in advance to control numbers, sanitise hands on arrival and wipe down equipment before and after use with the many sanitiser wipes available, and the diligent cleaning team are are on hand constantly with vats of sanitiser spraying down all equipment (don’t stay still long or you run the risk of getting sprayed yourself!) Showers and changing areas are closed, and you need to bring your own towels as they are not given, plus, as is the legal requirement across Dubai, you need to wear a face mask. Classes also started for us this week, and I was back in my usual circuits and cycle classes – these high demand classes normally accommodate 20 people, but at the moment, numbers are limited to 8-10, and need to be booked well in advance. The team on the ground there are doing a fantastic job keeping everything going safely – from the ever present cleaners, to the reception team who are managing bookings, entries, the phone lines – and all still with a smile on their faces.
I also ventured back into the larger shopping malls, and we went out for drinks and dinner for the first time since lockdown started! Again, staff were so welcoming – and all sporting face masks and gloves, surfaces were regularly cleaned and the ubiquitous sanitiser was at most of the entrances/exits. Menus have been swapped for a card sporting a simple QR code, which on scanning, offers the full menu on your phone. Whilst it’s certainly different to before, and varies from place to place, the atmosphere everywhere is great. You can feel the gratitude and relief of those around you as we start to explore the new freedoms that we once took for granted. In my opinion, customer service has improved dramatically, staff have had to veer away from the ‘script’ and be much more personable and human again – and there is definite joy to be getting back to ‘normal’.
Given the experiences I have had so far, I will certainly now be making an effort to support businesses in the area and help boost the economy again – it’s been great to have time at home and not to be rushing around from one place to another all the time, but I’ve missed being social and many of us are facing tough times at the moment when it comes to business. I would encourage anyone reading this to venture out and start supporting those around you now – it’s not as scary as you think, and it’s time to move forwards, slowly and cautiously…