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Silver lining for Namibian tourism

Silver lining for Namibian tourism

Staff Reporter

THE fact that the government is willing to do a month long test run with international tourism in the second week of Stage 4 of the State of Emergency has provided operators in the industry with a silver lining on the otherwise dark economic cloud hanging over the country.

 

The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, during the announcement that the Erongo Region will progress to Stage 3 at midnight on Monday evening while during a briefing from the Situation Room at State House indicated that Namibia will experiment with a targeted international tourism revival initiative.

 

“The initiative will be tried between 15 July and 15 August 2020 and will accommodate a limited number of tourists from a carefully selected market on the basis of its epidemiological profile.”

 

Dr. Shangula said that during the test run all tourists travelling to Namibia must present a negative SARS-COV-2 PCR test result, valid for 72 hours before they will be allowed to enter Namibia. He added that in order for the initiative to succeed, visitors will have to be prepared to submit to mandatory testing, upon arrival and to spend a mandatory, 14-day in quarantine at a Government certified establishment at their own cost.

 

All regions in Namibia except the Erongo Region will progress to Stage 4 of the State of Emergency at one minute to midnight on 29 June 2020 and in this regard the health minister laid out the necessary guidelines where restrictive measures will be relaxed further.

 

The minister also gave clarity on the guidelines for the Erongo Region that will have to remain in Stage 3 for a week longer than the rest of the country.

 

With regard to the Erongo Region, Dr. Shangula said that Government will continue to closely monitor the situation on the Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis Local Authority Areas on daily basis. He added that appropriate action will be taken as the situation dictates.

 

“The observance period will be monitored on a weekly basis and may be reduced or extended, subject to changes in the country epidemiological situation,” the health minister said.

 

government test run international tourism Stage 4 State Emergency
Pictured: Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula. Photo: File

 

The newest set of encompassing guidelines reads as follows:

 

Standard Health and Hygiene Guidelines

A relaxation in restrictions requires heightened vigilance and responsibility at a personal, community and organisational levels. The public is urged to adhere to the following guidelines:

 

Continue Physical Distancing protocols of at least 1meters between persons, to minimize risk of infection.

 

Each person is required to wear a facemask, as defined in the Regulations, when using both private and public transport, shopping, outdoor group exercise, public spaces and at the workplace.

 

Increase hygiene interventions, e.g. public hand washing utilities and consumables, including installation of sanitizer equipment within public and work places.

 

Increase cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces including public transport and all public facilities including schools, buses, play park equipment, shared water access points, public restrooms among others.

 

Anyone with symptoms of a dry cough, high fever and shortness of breath should avoid public places and rather call the Toll-Free Number 0800-100-100 or 911 or consult a health facility or community health worker to be advised on what to do.

 

Businesses are required to keep a register of customers, recording the time of patronage, full name and contact details, to assist with possible contact tracing.

 

The public is urged to cooperate with authorities in maintaining the health of the population.

 

Measures under STAGE 4

These measures are applicable to 13 regions with exception of Erongo Region.

 

Education

Face-to-face instruction for Grade 11 and 12 shall continue countrywide, except for the Local Authority Areas of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis.

 

The resumption of face-to-face instruction for Early Childhood Development and Pre-Primary (Grades Zero to 3) is deferred across all 14 regions, for a period of two-weeks, until Monday 06 July 2020. The Ministry of Education will provide an updated schedule to the public.

 

Points of Entry

Points of entry will remain closed except for the transportation of imported goods.

 

Government will conduct a targeted Tourism initiative from 15 July to 15 August 2020 in collaboration with the private sector.

 

Public gatherings

Public gatherings during this period shall not exceed 250 persons. This includes weddings, funerals and religious gatherings.

 

Members of the public must strictly adhere to the Health & Hygiene protocols, such as mandatory wearing of a facemask in public, hand washing and sanitizing, maintaining a safe Physical Distance of no less than 1m between persons and Log Books with full personal details, to assist with contact tracing.

 

Cross Border Movement

As from 30 June 2020, all Namibians & Non-Namibians entering the country must submit to a COVID19 PCR test on arrival and mandatory, Government supervised Quarantine, at own cost. Citizens who cannot afford to quarantine at own cost (as defined in the Directives) may apply to be quarantined at cost to Government.

 

Namibians, Permanent Residence Permit Holders & categories of professionals with valid Work Permits (as defined in the Regulations) should notify the Namibian Embassy & High Commission of their intent to travel to Namibia, no less than 2 weeks prior to departure for coordination purpose. Only categories as defined will be granted entry into the country.

 

All Non-Namibians must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, valid for 72 hours before entering Namibia.

 

Business

The following businesses will be permitted to resume activities under STAGE 4, subject to the Health & Hygiene Guidelines stipulated under Section 2 above, and in fulfilling the following additional requirements:
Guidelines for number of persons inside an establishment to be revised from 2sqm per person to 1sqm per person (as per MIT directives), with strict enforcement of Health & Hygiene protocols with no less than 1m between persons. This measure is intended to facilitate and increase the number of patrons visiting various businesses, without compromising public health considerations.

 

Hospitality and Tourism

The targeted International Tourism revival initiative, to be tried between 15 July-15 August 2020, will accommodate a limited number of tourists from a carefully selected market on the basis of its epidemiological profile.

 

All tourists travelling to Namibia must present a negative SARS-COV-2 PCR test result, valid for 72 hours before entering Namibia and submit to mandatory testing, upon arrival.

 

All tourists must submit to mandatory, 14-day quarantine at a Government certified establishment, at own cost.

 

Allow one incubation cycle at the end of the initiative, for monitoring and assessment.

 

Liquor Outlets, Shebeens, Bars

Businesses may operate under normal working hours but limit the sale of alcohol to 09h00-18h00, Monday-Saturday (subject to applicable Liquor License). No sale of alcohol will be permitted on Sunday.
Buying and selling of alcohol is only permitted for takeaway. Consumption of alcohol is only permitted in private dwelling.

 

Only holders of a valid Liquor License will be permitted to operate.
Adhere to guidelines for number of persons inside an establishment (1sqm per person)

 

Casinos, Nightclubs & Gambling houses

Casinos & Gambling Houses to only open for pre-booked clients, no walk-ins.

 

Informal gambling houses to maintain Log Book.

 

Selling and consumption of alcohol on site is permitted. Buying and selling of alcohol for takeaway is prohibited.

 

Adhere to strict Health & Hygiene protocols including the wearing of face masks & guidelines for number of persons inside establishment (1sqm per person). Log Books to be maintained at all premises.

 

Sporting events & activities

These are permitted to resume including contact sports as defined in the Regulations, subject to adherence to the Public Gathering limit of 250 persons and the Health & Hygiene protocols.

 

Penalties of violating above Regulations

Non-compliance with Regulations is a punishable offence. For owners of Nightclubs and Gambling Houses the penalty may include suspension of the operating license.

 

The penalty for violating Stage 4 Regulations is a fine of N$2,000 or arrest.

 

MEASURES FOR ERONGO REGION WITH SPECIAL DISPENSATION FOR WALVIS BAY, SWAKOPMUND AND ARANDIS LOCAL AUTHORITY AREAS
The Erongo region will migrate from STAGE 1 to STAGE 3 at 23:59, Monday 22 June 2020 until 23:59, Monday 06 July 2020 for a 14-day period or one-incubation cycle.

 

Travel between towns in the Erongo region and to the rest of the country, will be permitted, with exception of the Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis Local Authority Areas.

 

Travel within and between Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis Local Authority Areas will be permitted.

 

Travel into and out of these Local Authority Areas to the rest of the country will be restricted to emergency situations only (as defined in the Regulations).

 

All residents are discouraged to travel during this period, to allow for the active case search and to determine the extent of spread.

 

Essential service providers (as defined in the Regulations) and truck drivers will be permitted to travel into and out of the region on the basis of an authorized permit.

 

The full details of all persons leaving or entering the regions, including the three Local Authority Areas, will be recorded in Registers, at point of Exit/Entry.

 

Public gatherings at Erongo region will be restricted to 50 persons with exception of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund & Arandis Local Authority Areas, which will be restricted to 10 persons.

 

Education: Grade 11 and 12 may resume face-to-face instruction in the Erongo region, with exception of the three Local Authority Areas.

 

Resumption of Grades 11, 12, and Pre-Primary (Grades Zero to 3) at Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis Local Authority Areas will be deferred for a period of two weeks, to Monday 06 July 2020.

 

Vulnerable persons at Erongo region will be permitted to work from home, subject to authorization by the Employer and presentation of a valid Medical Certificate.

 

Old Age Homes should remain under isolation and caregivers should strictly adhere to the Health & Hygiene Protocols.

 

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