Amidst the COVID-19 situation, we’re all currently in a very fluid situation meaning Government advice may change which could force us to make significant changes on a day to day basis.
In order to further mitigate the risk of Covid-19 infection we have put in place the following additional measures, in line with the Dubai authorities and best practices in the climbing industry,
PAPERLESS SIGN UP
In order to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission we have implemented an entirely digital sign-up process. No paper or pens exchange hands.
From waiver forms to membership contracts, everything is now done online through our website, thus reducing potential contact and preserving the health of our staff and members.
All climbers have to reserve their 2hr climbing slot online through the Member App. The reservation system serves two purposes.
It allows us to control the number of climbers at any one time in the gym and stay under the 40 person quota per 2 hours. Our main aim is to manage and reduce the number of climbers in our building at any one time and mitigate the spread of the virus whilst still being able to maintain a positive space for people to use.
Secondly if someone was to report being Covid-19 positive, we can quickly alert other members who were climbing in the same time slot that a person in the gym at the same time as them has tested positive.
Please note: if a person in your time slot shares a positive Covid-19 test with us within a few days of climbing, we will put all members present at that time slot on hold for 10 days.
It is our hope that the booking system is effective and aims to allow the free flow of climbers even at peak times, and also dependably manage capacity without needing to queue or waitlist too many climbers.
Mandatory Safety Inductions
We require two short mandatory boulder and auto-belay safety inductions for new and returning members.
There are two main goals to these safety inductions.
One, they inform all climbers of our Covid-19 risk mitigation rules at the gym, in order to keep everyone safe and healthy. Our instructors will among other things remind climbers about washing their hands after a climb and before touching their face, maintaining social distancing on the wall and how to direct a sneeze or cough.
Two, many climbing gyms have noticed a spike in accidents when they re-opened. Since most of you have not been climbing for months, it is important for us to make sure everyone is climbing and bouldering safely.
These two free workshops are an integral part of our Covid-19 risk mitigation strategy,
In order to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection from another climber and encourage social distancing, we are encouraging people who live together (as a couple or family) to climb together. In Family or Couple memberships climbing partners have to be mixed and from the same household as the climber.
Mountain Extreme is testing a liquid-chalk-only policy for the foreseeable future. Our understanding of how COVID-19 spreads is constantly evolving, but airborne transmission is believed to be the primary way the virus is spread. By eliminating loose chalk, we are trying to limit airborne dust. This reduces the particles in the air, which reduces irritants to the eyes and airways and for many climbers will lessen the need to touch our eyes and faces. In other gyms that have implemented this, the difference in air quality appears to be significant. We are also offering the world's first Hygienic Chalk which contains the concentration of ethanol (80%) recommended by the WHO, CDC, and FDA for Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products. Its available in the shop right now, go and grab some!
REDUCED CLASS SIZE
As parents we take the health of children very seriously. We have limited kids classes to ensure social distancing is strictly enforced as well as hand sanitizing after every climb.
Maintaining Facility Cleanliness
Beyond making sanitizer available to climbers we have also hired a full time cleaning service who will be disinfecting high contact points throughout the entire day.
There are no lost and found, items found at the end of the day are discarded
All these measures are the tip of the iceberg of our Covid-19 risk mitigation strategy. As many gyms in Dubai are getting closed down for not respecting the authorities Covid-19 health guidelines we prioritize the health of our staff members and climbers over profit.
As the situation progresses favourably in the next few weeks, we are hoping to re-introduce Day Passes. However, Day Passes will still require pre-booking and a Covid-19 safety induction class (included in the price of the day pass).
We decided to invest in more auto-belay units. as a tool in helping to maintain social distancing. With 14 auto-belay units we offer a range of routes for every climbing level and more importantly allow climbers to maintain social distancing by not having a climbing partner.
As gyms are being closed down in Dubai, and climbing gyms are shut down around the world due to the second wave of Covid-19, we believe our Covid-19 risk mitigation strategy will help us maintain the highest level of hygiene standards and protect the health of our staff and members.
We continuously communicate our rules and inform our members about any rules or measures put in place. We believe communication is key in ensuring everyone is on board and understands the importance of the Covid-19 rules in place at the gym.
We understand that some of these measures can be felt as constraining. We also know that the gym is a social hub for people to meet their friends after work, but we would like to ask climbers to refrain from grouping together when working a problem or a route. We believe climbers are used to rules and risk mitigation is what keeps them safe indoors and outdoors.
As we constantly adapt to the rise and fall of cases and the new normal, we have taken a decision from opening day to ensure the health and safety of our team members and customers before profit.
To this end we have put in place measures to reduce the risk of contamination. You can find out more by reading our risk mitigation strategy.
We have always tried to balance the risk vs reward approach to climbing. So whilst many gyms around the world are still closed, we decided that we could stay open and still keep a very high standard of safety from infection, and we succeeded.
When it comes to lead climbing our risk assessment team, including our technical advisor from the MTA, have looked at it as something where the risk of infection or injury largely outweighs the training reward. The risk factor of someone spraying the climbing space with a scream during a lead fall is very high considering there are no masks during climbing.
Moreover since most people haven't lead climbed in a while, the risk of injury due to poor belay techniques is very high. For all these reasons we are waiting for the health and sanitation situation to improve in order to start doing lead belay checks. In the meantime we want to keep training options open for climbers; we built the Moonboard and have added a Campus Board. The training benefits of lead climbing can easily be achieved using those new facilities or by top-rope, bouldering or auto-belay climbing. We look forward to announcing the re-opening of lead climbing soon.
If you have been tested positive, you can request a membership hold for 14 days by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once the 14 days quarantine is over we will require you to show us a Green code (negative) on your Al Hosn application or a clearance certificate.
In the case of a family or couple membership, all members within the membership will be placed on quarantine and all must present negative tests before they can reserve a climbing slot.
If you have been in contact with a person who is positive, or climbing in the same time slot as them, we will place your membership on hold for 10 days from the day of last contact with the person. If you don't develop any symptoms you can come back and climb after 10 days.