As the weather improves in Qatar, the country’s parks and neighbourhood gardens witness a steady increase in the number of visitors. However, restrictions over dress code leave many people disappointed when they visit one of Doha’s most popular recreational destinations – Aspire Park.
Visitors from different sections of society go to Aspire Park early in the morning or after sunset. While some of them are passionate about fitness, others just want to walk around or spend some quality time in the pleasant surroundings.
However, many residents are caught unawares when they visit Aspire Park in clothes that do not satisfy the criteria. An expatriate found this out while trying to enter the park in casual clothes. “Sir, you cannot enter the park like this. You need to wear a full sports dress to enter the park or should be in the company of your family,” an Asian security guard told the expatriate as he hurried to stop him and his friends as none of them was wearing sports attire.
The expatriate said the guard, who was polite and calm, explained that he was only acting on the instructions of the park management and had to enforce the rules.
While such a dress code could be justified on the grounds that the park is part of a larger sports facility, many visitors want it scrapped.
“The country is a celebration of diversity with a large number of male expatriate workers coming here from different parts of the world. Such a rule appears strange and unacceptable to many,” said an expatriate executive.
“The idea behind the rule can be a perfectly logical and well-intentioned one. However, the dress code should be just a recommendation for visitors and not a binding rule that prevents people from entering the park due to their attire,” said a European woman.
Many consider Aspire Park as the best location of its kind in Doha with its ample green areas and trees, the artificial lake, nice scenery, sports equipment and walking tracks. It is an easily-accessible facility, where a large number of people go to relax or work out.
Another highly popular recreational option for Doha residents is the Corniche. Neighbourhood gardens, too, provide families with easily-accessible options for recreation with their quiet surroundings and mostly well-maintained facilities.
The Central Municipal Council (CMC) has on various occasions recommended to the municipalities and competent authorities that more such gardens and small parks be provided in residential areas. It has also stressed that these facilities be regularly maintained.
The CMC has pointed out that such gardens and parks are very important for the well-being of families - whether locals and expatriates – as they offer much-needed recreational facilities to help improve the quality of their lives.
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