The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, has directed operators of tourist sites and attractions to apply to the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) for permission before commencing business.
She said that was to enable the GTA to thoroughly inspect the sites and facilities to ensure that the necessary safety protocols were in place before permits were granted.
The minister was addressing the media on the general guidelines for players and patrons in the industry, in line with the easing of restrictions announced by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his 10th national address on the COVID-19 response last Sunday.
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi said as part of the safety protocols, tourist sites and attractions would not admit more than 100 patrons at a time, while the operators must provide enough Veronica buckets, together with tissue and stand-alone sanitiser dispensers, strategically at venue entrances in a manner to prevent queuing and crowding.
She said people in a queue must stand at least a metre apart, wash their hands and be in masks before they would be admitted to the sites and throughout the period of stay in a facility.
She added that there must be strict adherence to physical distancing of not less than a metre, while isolation areas should be designated in the facilities.
Bars remain closed
The minister further reiterated the fact that all bars, drinking spots and night clubs were to remain closed until further notice, explaining that it would be difficult to maintain physical distancing in such facilities.
She said all public events such as conferences and awards ceremonies should be managed by event organisers.
“Only accredited individuals shall manage events. That is, corporate event houses and certified professionals of associations or recognised professional bodies. All event organisers must be duly licensed by the GTA.
“All events shall be time constrained in order not to keep guests for too long. There shall be the presence of designated health and safety liaison persons among the organisers, and venues shall conform to regulatory standards,” she said.
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi added that event venues must have adequate spaces and COVID-19-friendly washrooms, with standby janitors to clean and disinfect after each visit during an event.
Operators of food and beverage establishments, such as restaurants, ‘chop bars’, highway rest stops, fast food joints, coffee/tea shops and snack bars, must also operate under laid down guidelines, she said.
She said there must be mandatory display and enforcement of ‘No Mask, No Entry’ and the provision of soap and running water and hand sanitisers/disinfectant gels with paper towels at public areas.
“Limit the number of guests for dining to 50 per cent of current capacity and a maximum of 100 people at restaurants to ensure adequate spacing for seating and maintain physical distancing of at least one metre between tables and persons on every side,” Mrs Oteng-Gyasi said.
Operators must also ensure that buffet-style services, if necessary, should be done by limiting communal handling of serving cutlery, and when necessary, tongs and ladles should be changed frequently and kept in separate containers, she added.
Erosion of gains
The minister said although the sector made significant strides in 2019, growing by 27 per cent, as against the global average of five per cent, all the gains had been eroded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
She, however, said the government had introduced a number of interventions to boost the sector, including the easing of some restrictions.
Players in the industry could also apply for loans under the GH¢600 million stimulus package for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) administered by the
National Board for Small-Scale Industries (NBSSI) and the GH¢3 billion relief package for big businesses.
“The ministry, with support from the World Bank, has also earmarked $9 million for a Ghana Tourism Development Project as part of the intervention. $4 million out of the amount will be used to develop tourist sites and destinations, while $5 million will be used to support tourism enterprises,” Mrs Oteng-Gyasi said.
Source: Daily Graphic
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