By Omar Bah
The Ministry of Tourism has announced plans to open the 2020/21 tourist season in October but not without conditions to contain the spread of coronavirus.
“The Gambia depending on advice from the Ministry of Health on the rate of Covid-19 infection in the country is ready to open and operate the forth coming season as a very safe destination for clients in October,” the ministry said in a correspondence to stakeholders obtained by The Standard.
The ministry said all issues of health and safety must be adhered to by the entire leisure and hospitality industry in general; and hotels and restaurants in particular, prior to the commencement of the season.
“The Gambia, like all nations is facing the significant challenges posed to us all by the Covid-19 Pandemic. We remain vigilant and persistent in all efforts to surmount this universal trial. The aforementioned are in alignment and compliance with the WHO guidelines for hotel and leisure establishments,” the ministry added.
The ministry said all passengers must apply sanitiser before embarkation, all passengers will provide a negative Covid-19 test that is within 72 hours before departure, all passengers must pay all expenses for their 14-day quarantine at government designated hotels as part of their ticket cost.
“All passengers must be informed by the airline of the quarantine guidelines of the ministry of health during purchase of tickets, relevant teams of MOH should receive all the information of the flight including number of passengers and places of embarkation, nationality of the passengers, expected date and time of arrival, all passengers will be wearing a mask whiles coming down,” the ministry said.
Also all passengers should sign a form to show readiness to undergo quarantine, the passengers must be screen for fever and symptoms of Covid-19 before entering the immigration area and all drivers attempting to cross the border must show a certified negative test results for Covid-19 obtained in the last 72 hours before arrival.
“All drivers entering the country should have spare driver. Each hotel is required to have public health officer to serve as an infection prevention and control officer working in continuous coordination with the ministry of health, all hotels and resorts shall be responsible for ensuring the availability and use of WHO approved personal protective equipment and sterilisation material.
“All hotels are obligated to provide PPEs for employees and guests, all casinos can operate with 50% of capacity, ensuring use of face masks and physical distancing, hotels should he committed to using a maximum of 50% of the workforce, workers returning from vacations should quarantine for 14 days, all hotel staff shall be subject to routine screening and testing by officials of the Ministry of Health.”
The ministry also extended government’s committed to a continued partnership with their valued partners in the operation of the 2020/21 tourist season.
“We are cognisant of your ongoing promotion and marketing of The Gambia as a destination of choice for your clientele. We definitely appreciate your unfaltering confidence, and would like to take this opportunity to reassure you of our support in helping you reach your operational goals in the Winter Season,” the ministry noted.