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UFC Fight Island Puts Abu Dhabi to the Post Coronavirus Safety Test

Using an upcoming UFC event on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi is getting ready to open up to crowds and rabid fans of mixed martial arts

Abu Dhabi only recently opened its borders to travelers, but those doors are about to get blown wide open. A much-anticipated UFC FIGHT ISLAND series of events will be held on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, one of the emirate’s most popular leisure, shopping and entertainment destinations, starting Saturday, July 11, to be followed with successive Fight Night events to be held on Wednesday, July 15; Saturday, July 18; and Saturday, July 25.  

The emirate announced guidelines for a phased opening to visitors this week, following the launch in mid May of a “safe and clean” certification program for the tourism sector.

The Fight Island plans will put all that to the test. To accommodate existing public health guidelines, DCT Abu Dhabi will create a safety zone within the nearly ten square mile Yas Island area that will include an arena, hotel, training facilities, and dining establishments.  However, this safety zone will only be open to UFC athletes and their coaches; UFC staff and other event personnel; and Yas Island employees who are necessary to ensure the operation of the facilities.

“We came up with the idea of having fights on ‘Fight Island’ because we needed a destination to hold international events during the global pandemic,” said UFC President Dana White. “Abu Dhabi has been an amazing location to hold fights over the past ten years and it is the perfect place for these events. The infrastructure we are building will be such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the fighters that’s never been done before – from the arena, the private training facility and the Octagon on the island – it’s going to be an experience that none of us will ever forget. I can’t wait to deliver amazing fights from Yas island”.

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has otherwise issued strict health and safety guidelines and precautionary measures in preparation for the reopening of a number of museums and cultural sites in the emirate.

The guidelines require each site to operate at only 40 percent visitor capacity to begin with and follow requirements that will support the visitor experience across the cultural site spaces, including social distancing rules, crowd control measures and regulations for employees and visitors in order to reopen safely.

“The guidelines set out stringent criteria for the sites to follow, to ensure members of the public can be assured their visit will be safe and secure. These steps highlight the strides Abu Dhabi has made in containing the crisis and we are looking forward to welcoming back culture and art-lovers to our attractions soon,” said HE Saood Al Hosani, Acting Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi.

Before reopening to guests, all sites are required to conduct comprehensive risk assessments regarding ensuring the health and safety of everyone visiting the site, with a site-specific compliance monitoring procedure also put in place. Once complete, the reopened sites will then have to ensure that visitors and employees respect the social distancing rule of six feet with a range of measures.

Each site will also have thermal cameras installed at the entrance, to ensure each person is going through the mandated thermal screening.

Meanwhile, hotels, malls and gathering spots in Abu Dhabi are preparing to cautiously re-welcome guests. DCT Abu Dhabi aims to safeguard the health and wellbeing of visitors through site certifications that ensure the compliance of standardized hygiene levels in tourism destinations and industry businesses within the emirate.

In late March, the UAE launched the National Disinfection Program as part of the preventative and precautionary measures taken by the UAE to contain the spread of COVID-19. The certification program was developed in partnership with leading world health organizations and is being rolled out in phases. Phase one launched this week is to be dedicated to hotels in Abu Dhabi, with other tourism attractions and businesses to follow.

More information about Covid-19 guidelines and visiting the UAE here.