Strict guidelines when tourism industry resumes operations

By Easwaran Rutnam

Strict guidelines have been proposed for the tourism sector as the industry prepares to open its doors and resume operations.

A draft document prepared by the Ministry of Tourism proposes safety measures that need to be in place from the airport to hotels and restaurants, shopping malls and tourist destinations in the country.

The draft proposal notes the importance of implementing safe distancing measures at all locations.

The document circulated among stakeholders notes that the initiative/document was designed mainly to help and guide hoteliers in a more effective way as the industry personnel should be clear on actions that has to be taken during the Covid 19 -post lockdown.

The draft proposal also notes that any instructions issued by the state authorities from time to time will be binding and will override the provisions in the document, and must be strictly complied with.

The management have been told they must educate all categories of staff of the critical importance of these procedures designed to make operating the hotel safe for both guests and staff alike. Special attention has been made to make it extremely safe for staff to carry out their assigned tasks.

The proposal notes that social distancing includes refraining from hugging and shaking hands with guests as well as among staff. It involves maintaining a distance of at least 1m (3 ft) and avoiding anyone who is coughing or sneezing.  The traditional greeting of “Ayubowan” is to be followed at all times.

The entry of outsiders to meet guests at hotels will also be discouraged. If an outsider is to be permitted entry, he/she must be screened at the established facility for screening/ or by the staff members equipped with recommended PPE’s.

The use of Food & Beverage facilities by non-resident guests will also be discouraged.

Seating in the Restaurant must be arranged considering the social/personal distancing guidelines. It has also been proposed that crockery be delivered after the guests are seated.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday President Gotabaya Rajapaksa urged the authorities to target high-spending tourists in an attempt to revive the tourism sector which has been hit by the coronavirus.

President Rajapaksa also proposed that Sri Lanka take steps to issue visas with a recognised health certificate when tourists begin to return to Sri Lanka.

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