By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Hospital and tourism establishments in Lagos State are set to reopen for business after being shut down for over four months by the state government.
The reason for the closure was to contain the spread of Coronavirus disease in the metropolis. The government has been reopening different sectors of the economy gradually.
A statement issued over the weekend by the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, said the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has come up with some modalities to be followed by practitioners.
According to her, the protocols and guidelines are meant to ensure the health and safety of all guests and staff in all the facilities involved.
“The new rules affect all accommodation establishments such as hotels, motels, apartments, suites, inns, guest houses etc; tourism enterprises like event centres/entertainment places, and food establishments, like restaurants, eateries, fast food, lounge and bars, and cinemas,” she said.
The Commissioner explained that the ministry arrived at the set of protocols for the practitioners after due consultations with relevant stakeholders in the hospitality and tourism sector and in recognition of the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the industry.
While noting that, apart from the general safety protocols which include the compulsory use of face masks, regular hand washing, use of sanitisers, maintenance of social distancing, temperature check, encouragement of cashless transactions, disinfection of premises and buildings among others, Mrs Akinbile-Yussuf stated that owners of hospitality establishments are now required to offer 50 per cent of their space capacity to guests for now in order to maintain physical distancing, in addition to the separation of dining tables.
“For now, there will be no buffet serving arrangement. All guests (over 18 years old) must be made to sign a COVID-19 form at the reception that has the name, address and phone number of guests for easy contact tracing purpose,” she said.
For owners of food establishments such as restaurants, eateries, fast food, lounge and bar among others, she said they are mandated to indicate two metres spacing on the floor to guide their customers in physical distancing, adding that fast food outlets and eateries are also to maintain take-away services for now.
On the modalities for tourism enterprises such as event centres/entertainment places, the Commissioner directed that they must hold a valid licence from Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture prior to holding an event, in addition to an event safety clearance from the Lagos State Safety Commission before such event is held.
“Occupancy at any event, for now, must not exceed 50 per cent maximum capacity of the hall with a maximum duration of three hours for all social events.
“Event centres sitting arrangement must also comply with the two metres physical spacing. All tables must be set at least five meters apart in order to maintain a safe distance and free movements,” Mrs Akinbile-Yusuf stated.
She warned against violation of the stated conditions by event centre owners and party planners, stressing that the penalty for the infraction will attract a sum of N1 million.
While maintaining that owners of cinemas are to follow all guidelines stipulated for the hospitality sector and event centres as it relates to 50 per cent capacity, two metres spacing and the signing of COVID-19 forms by customers above 18 years, the Commissioner stressed that the operation of all cinemas within the state must not exceed the hours stipulated by the government to ensure compliance with the 10 p.m to 4 a.m curfew directive.
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