In a virtual press conference, Tourism Ministry outlines the guidelines that guesthouses in residential islands and the island council need to follow to request for the reopening permit.
Tourism Ministry Dr. Abdulla Mausoom said that reopening guesthouses at this time will be very challenging yet we will all work together to become an example to the world.
He further said that guesthouses in Male’ City and suburban Hulhumale’ and Vilimale’ will not be allowed to reopen for international tourists due to the increase in infected cases in the community. However, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has advised, if the infection rate drops lower than 5% then guesthouses in the greater male’ region will be permitted to reopen for tourists.
The guesthouses in residential islands will require the consent of local councils based on public opinion to apply for the permit request. After guesthouses fulfill the necessary requirements, they will initially be issued a conditional permit.
Local Council Requirements;
- Island guesthouse reopening permit from the Tourism Ministry
- Establishment of designated isolation and quarantine facilities at the island for positive and direct contact personals
- Establishment of an active COVID-19 taskforce (Capacity of the taskforce will be determined by HPA)
- Establishment of arrangements to transfer coronavirus patients and samples to a COVID-19 facility
- Establishment of a flu clinic with medical officers and screening facilities
- Establishment of an isolation room in the health center.
Government will permit reopening of Guest Houses from 15 Oct 2020. The issuing of permit will be based on consent from Island Council and criteria and guideline by HPA and HEOC. Ministry will hold a Press on 2.9.2020 to provide more info on #GuestHouse reopening.#VisitMaldives— Ministry of Tourism (@MoTmv) September 1, 2020
In addition, guesthouses are required to submit a health and safety plan to the tourism ministry in order to receive the permit. The health and safety plan must include;
- Temporary isolation facility for tourists or staff with COVID-19 related symptoms in the guesthouse
- Infection prevention measures details
- Covid-19 related awareness and safe distancing guidelines placed within the guesthouse premises.
- Availability of basic first aid and infrared thermometer.
- Availability of hand sanitizing measures
- All the staffs must use ‘TraceEkee’ application
- All staff must have a separate uniform for work and a changing room for them must be available in the guesthouse for them shower before they leave after duty.
- All the facilities and services provided from the guesthouse must be within the HPA guidelines and all the staff must be aware of the health and safety plan.
Tourism Ministry stated that scheduled webinars will be held for both guesthouse owners and local councils to give details on the requirements and guide them through the procedure to prepare for the reopening.
Furthermore starting from 10th September, to ensure the safety of all, the Health Protection Agency of Maldives has made it mandatory for all inbound travelers to present a Negative PCR certificate on arrival, which has to be done within a maximum of 72 hours prior to departure to the Maldives. If the tourist visiting the guesthouse requires pre-departure PCR, then they will also have to do the screening according to the guidelines of their next destination or departing airline.