The future for the diving industry at this current time looks uncertain with no one really knowing what the timescales are for major improvements in cases of the virus, and even then what that will then mean for divers and Dive Centres to start diving again. Around the world this will happen at differing rates by country as some see increasing cases while others are decreasing and restrictions start to be lifted.
However Dive Centres, staff and divers should remain optimistic and positive for the future and be planning for better times ahead.
Take Cyprus for example.
The numbers of new cases in Cyprus has never been large and in recent days we have seen a big reduction in new daily cases to less than 10 people. Cyprus has been in a strict lock down for 6 weeks now and the measures were implemented quickly and we are now seeing positive improvements. So much so that we are being told of reduced restrictions possibly after the end of April if the improvement continues. This may see a lot of businesses being able to open their doors again which hopefully will include Dive Centres.
What will that mean then for the Centres and their divers ?
There will no doubt be a number of strict measures to follow that are similar to businesses that have continued throughout. General sanitizing and ongoing cleaning of all surfaces will be an ongoing measure for a long time to come, as will maximum numbers of people and social distancing. For Dive Centres the disinfecting of equipment on a daily basis after every use will be paramount and particularly in relation to regulators mouthpieces, snorkels, wetsuits, masks and so on. There are already very concise instructions on the processes for this from local, European and International diving bodies.
Then there will possibly be maximum numbers of people allowed in vehicles together and numbers of people allowed on dive boats with potential spacings between them too.
The biggest issue for tourist destinations will of course be when and how they let flights back in. The diving industry in these locations rely almost entirely on divers flying in for their annual few dives, their dive course or for dive groups doing a package of dives. This is what will hit Dive Centres the hardest still after lock down and Cyprus in particular.
Different countries have their own individual levels of cases and all differ in how they are responding to it. Some will start to come out of lock down in the next weeks and months while others could take the rest of this year before any improvement is seen. Countries, like Cyprus, who see big improvements will not be allowing flights in from any country with any major levels of the virus and so this will continue to impact on the diving industry. Even when they do we will see tighter controls and checks before visitors are allowed entry.
With all this as a Dive Centre we still need to keep positive and have everything in place and ready for the doors to open again. The main thing is to keep safe and that we will all be diving again some day soon !