With the arrival of the Corona (COVID 19) pandemic, 2020 has become a special year for almost the entire world. Some countries are still completely in lock down while others are slowly opening their borders. In the popular diving holiday destination Egypt we are getting going again step by step, but what can you expect as a traveler?
Every country looks at the pandemic differently, takes different measures and monitors it in different ways. These rules apply to your flight, transport by car or bus, staying in a hotel or on a liveaboard, all conceivable facilities and of course diving related procedures. So if you want to travel, you will have to be and remain aware of all these new rules. And be aware that not every country assumes that people are intelligent and make good choices like we do in the Netherlands. Other countries may have different rules and apply a different way of enforcing them. So be prepared.
In Egypt we are on the eve of opening for foreign tourists and every hotel, dive center and liveaboard is working hard to meet all new requirements. This is not a non-committal package of measures, but a strict requirement that is supported by checks by the government authorities involved. You will not immediately see many of these measures as a traveler, but there are also new rules that also affect the traveler directly, such as:
- Hotels and liveaboards are currently allowed to receive guests at 50% of their capacity and there is also a restriction on the number of guests allowed for dive boats. Where the hotel or the liveaboard must keep space free to quarantine people.
- The continuous wearing of a mouth mask is strongly advised and the mask must be disinfected after each use and the use of single-use masks is advised.
- Continuously maintaining a distance of 1-2 meters even when you are on board a boat.
- Forms and payments should be done online as much as possible so that the transferability of the virus is limited.
- Food may only be served per plate by the chef, so an open buffet is not allowed.
- We advise you to bring your own drinking bottle, cup, cutlery (with your name on it) and towels.
- The use of air conditioning should be limited, natural ventilation is preferred.
- In case of a shared bathroom or toilet, the user must disinfect all touched surfaces after use.
When it comes to diving, the following new rules apply.
- The use of your own diving equipment is strongly advised and rental equipment should be avoided where possible. The sharing of equipment should also be avoided.
- All briefings should be done outdoors.
- The number of people on the dive deck (near the equipment) is severely limited, currently a maximum of 2 buddy pairs with the expectation that this will be expanded.
- Do not touch another person’s diving equipment unless you are authorized and wearing gloves.
- When preparing your set for the dive, avoid touching the inside of the tap and the connecting part of the first stage.
- When going through a buddy check, contact with the buddy should be avoided, advice is to follow the guidelines of DAN (Divers Alert Network), namely visual inspection, demonstration by user and verbal confirmations.
- The rinsing of masks, regulators machines and snorkels should be done with running water, the use of a tank with water for rinsing is not allowed. Only cameras may be flushed into a tank.
- †When entering or leaving the water, only 2 people may be present on the dive deck and walk smoothly and offer space to others is the advice.
The diving equipment should be disinfected after each use using a mixture of water and chlorine. This concerns everything that directly touches the body and face, so almost your entire equipment.
The rules you read here are only a small part of all the measures imposed in Egypt. It is up to the individual hotel, dive center or liveaboard to find a suitable solution within their organization. So they may have found a slightly different solution and I can only recommend checking there before you travel.
Love life… Blow Bubbles