Ban’s Adapting to the New “Normal”
Diving Procedures – Covid -19
Now we are slowly opening for business at Ban’s Diving Resort and you may be wondering how we are adapting to the new “normal” here on Koh Tao. What measures are in place to protect our guests and staff during the pandemic? And how can we adapt boats, classrooms, hotel rooms and public places to meet safety recommendations? As we already mentioned in our previous blog, Koh Tao is Covid free with no reported cases, so we want to keep it that way.
At Ban’s we have a something infinite in our favour. Space. The Ban’s resort covers a vast area which stretches from the white sandy beaches all the way up to the surrounding mountains. It is easy to spread out and social distance. Our restaurants and bars are all open air and spacious too, so you can enjoy being together, separately.
Other than space, we have taken advice not only from PADI, but also other leading agencies, experts in this field, such as DAN (The Diver’s Alert Network), The World Health Organization, the CDC among others, as to what we should be doing to protect you during your stay. Plus, we are following local laws.
Regarding general movement around the resort, hotel, restaurant, and receptions areas. During lockdown we completely renovated and sterilized all areas. Our rooms, villas, hotel, and dorms were stripped, cleaned, and restored ready for your return. The same with our restaurants and bars.
The reception and office areas are also sterile, with social distancing measures in place. Staff and guests wear masks and will have their temperature taken on arrival. At every corner you will find hand sanitizer for your personal use, plus the Ban’s 24 Stores sell hand sanitizer gels and face masks for your personal safety when moving around the Island.
Door handles, desk tops, restaurant tables and chairs, payment areas etc. are all disinfected throughout the day.
With regards to our diving activities, which started last week, we have added a few more measures on top of our already strict disinfecting regime. Firstly, all divers have their own personal mouthpiece on their regulator. This is removed after every day’s diving for you to take away, and the regulator is disinfected according to guidelines.
The equipment rinse tanks are changed more often with extra added disinfectant to sterilize your dive gear. It is then thoroughly rinsed and hung with space in between to dry in our large drying area.
Classes are held in open air classrooms now, some of which are next to the beautiful white sandy beach. Reduced ratio classes make social distancing easier, plus give divers the added benefit of more personal tuition. At the moment we are teaching at a ratio of 2 divers to 1 Instructor. This allows everyone, including the Instructor, more time to enjoy courses.
Ban’s boats are large, and we are taking half our licensed number of divers on each boat, so there is plenty of room onboard to relax whist staying a couple of metres away from each other. During surface intervals we wear face masks and have hand sanitizer on board. Instead of using spit to defog masks, Ban’s supply on each of their boats, eco friendly soaps they make at the resort for all divers to use.
PADI have issued this “8 simple rules….” poster which we have posted on our boats and around the dive centre for our divers’ information. There are some useful tips for divers to stay safe whilst enjoying our beautiful coral reefs around Koh Tao.
There is no need to social distance underwater. We always dive close to our buddy and dive instructor for safety and enjoyment. However, once positively buoyant on the surface, it’s masks on and regs in until we are on the boat, then swapping to our other masks on the boat.
Many PADI diving courses involve skills which make social distancing difficult. PADI have issued new guidelines to help adapt skills during this time to avoid close contact with fellow students. Ban’s have implemented these adaptations whilst managing to follow all course standards.
When you are ready and able to return to Koh Tao, either for diving or simply to relax in paradise, rest assured that your health and well being are our priority. At Ban’s this has always been the case, but with the new normal, it is even more so. We look forward to welcoming you back soon, with sanitizer gel in hand.