Hotels, Cinemas Satisfied With Revision Of COVID-19 Restrictions

Environment Cop President
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

A cross-section of businesses and organisations in Cape Coast have welcomed Government’s revised COVID-19 restrictions that had given the country a semblance of normalcy with bliss.

The players in the hospitality industry, movie industry, events and faith-based organisations who were badly hit by the impact of the pandemic were convinced that the new directives would help steer their businesses back on track.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his 28th televised address on government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, announced a range of revised measures enacted under Executive Instrument (E.I.) 64 during the heat of the outbreak.

He declared, among others, that the wearing of nose mask was no longer mandatory but encouraged citizens to continue to maintain enhanced hand washing practices and avoid overcrowded places.

Additionally, he announced that all in-person activities, such as those that took place in churches, mosques, conferences, workshops, private parties and events, cinemas and theatres may resume at full capacity, if the audience and participants were fully vaccinated.

“Outdoor functions such as sporting events, entertainment spots, political rallies and funerals may resume at full capacity, again, if all persons at these events are fully vaccinated,” the President added.

Reacting to the new directives, Mr Victor Mintah, the General Manager of the Coconut Grove Hotel in Cape Coast, described the move as very welcoming news with an opportunity to return businesses to normalcy.

Mr Mintah, who is also the Central Regional Vice Chair of the Ghana Hoteliers Association, however, indicated that players in the hospitality industry needed to do more work through sensitisation to drive their business.

“There will have to be a concerted efforts to encourage people to go back and have physical conferences and meetings where networking and interaction can be what it used to be,” he said.

Mr Kofi Asamoah, Sales and Marketing Executive at the Ridge Royal Hotel in Cape Coast, expressed “great joy” and optimism over the repeal of the partial ban on conferences because he believed organisations would now have the confidence to patronise their facility.

“The ban brought certain limitations on us as industry players and various companies were a bit hesitant in organising their conferences here. Now that it has been lifted, we are positive and looking forward to increase in business,” he said.

He assured that the facility would strictly enforce the ‘no vaccination, no conference’ directive by the President.

For the Topp-yard Event Centre and Cinema, the revised restrictions could not have come at a better time as they had suffered for too long, despite agitations from stakeholders such as producers, actors and actresses.

Mr Asher Azure, the Secretary of the Centre was positive that the new directive would revive events and movies because it would run up their numbers.

“We are very happy about it. If we are to do a movie show or premiering here, the number of people you can record while the ban is still effective will be lesser than when it is not. So, it will bring us more revenue,” he said with smiles.

He added that: “Before we sell a ticket to you, we will make sure you bring your vaccination card as a proof. We are going to be strict on that because it is for our own safety too”.

Leaders of the Christ Church Anglican Cathedral in Cape Coast also indicated that the directive was in the right direction since citizens needed to be given the space to exercise their freedom of worship.

Father Stephen Obeng, a Priest of the Church, mentioned that some members were staying away from service because they felt unsafe and added that the announcement would encourage and guarantee them of their safety in church.

“It is welcoming because it will give us the room to operate in our full capacity unlike when we were limited in terms of numbers”.

A visit by the Ghana News Agency to some key locations in the Central Regional Capital such as the Kotokoraba Market and Kingsway saw majority of the people going about their businesses as usual.

The GNA could not count up to 50 people in nose mask out of the several hundreds of people including  traders, buyers, drivers, passengers and passers-by.

The situation was not too different from what pertained prior to the announcement.

Unlike the players in the hospitality industry, traders who sold nose masks at the Kotokoraba Market said they were bitter over the announcement.

Describing it as disturbing, Madam Lucy Appiah, said the sale of nose mask was her source of livelihood and funding for the support of her children’s education.

“We are pleading with him to rescind that part of his directives because the disease is still in the system. I have more than GHC5,000 worth of nose mask in stock and if I’m unable to sell them, what becomes of my capital?” she queried.

Another trader, Madam Fati Awudu, said the announcement had caused substantial damage to her business, adding that her sales had dramatically reduced in few hours.

“I know a lot of businesses are rejoicing now but we are disadvantaged. The President’s statement is going to encourage people to relax and that could be dangerous because it can erode all the gains we have made so far,” she added.

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