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Last week, with the reopening of its lounge in Cairo, Emirates took the first steps on the road to reopening its worldwide lounge network and the airline has promised that more lounges will be reopening in the coming weeks.
Specifically, Emirates has singled out its lounges at New York JFK and Manchenchester (UK) as lounges that we can expect to see reopening in the near future, and while it may take a little longer for some lounges to reopen than others (I don’t expect to see the Emirates lounge at LAX reopen any time soon), the airline has said that it’s doing its best to implement all the changes needed to welcome guests safely.
The Emirates lounge in concourse B at Dubai International airport (DXB) has been reopened for some time and the redesigned service in this lounge is a good indicator as to what guests can expect in other Emirates lounges as they begin to open up.
The airline has confirmed that in every lounge that is reopened, the buffet offering that was offered as standard before the pandemic will be replaced with an a la carte service complete with contactless menus activated by QR code.
Throughout a lounge’s opening hours, lounge staff will sanitize each seat and table after guests depart and, after hours, all the worldwide Emirates lounges will be sanitized and fumigated “regularly” (by “regularly” I hope Emirates means “frequently”)
All lounge staff are required to wear masks, and Emirates has put in place what it’s calling “social distancing protocols” to help reduce person-to-person contact and to prevent guests from sitting too close to one another if they’re not traveling together. The seating capacity at most Emirates lounges will be halved as every other sofa seat is left unoccupied and in a bid to ensure food safety, all catering staff are required to wear masks, gloves, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Last but not least, all newspapers, magazines, and other reading materials have been removed from the lounges to help minimize the risk of infection by touch.
While Emirates has brought back the onboard lounge and onboard showers on its Airbus A380 aircraft, the airline hasn’t said if the bars, showers, and spas will be reopening in the lounges that have them. I suspect that while the bars may be allowed to function in most of the reopened lounges (possibly with table service only), the fate of the shower facilities and spas will vary heavily depending on local laws.
Emirates has announced that it is starting to reopen its lounges around the world and while the ongoing crisis means that the lounges will seem quite different from what they were like at the beginning of the year, this is another positive step towards getting the travel world back to some semblance of normality.
Featured Image: The Emirates Lounge in Cairo