Egyptian hotels that have hygiene safety certificates will be allowed to increase their occupancy cap to 50 percent as of Monday in accordance with health safety requirements issued by the Tourism and Antiquities Ministry to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Hotel services in Egypt had been closed to the public since international flights were suspended in March, along with other drastic measures put in place to contain the pandemic.
However, over the past two weeks, up to 78 hotels have been allowed to reopen to local guests at 25 percent capacity and under specific requirements put in place by the government, including acquiring health safety certificates.
The move came as part of the country's efforts to restore normalcy and boost domestic tourism.
The tourism industry, one of Egypt's main sources of hard currency, has been significantly affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
Abdel-Fattah Al-Assi, deputy to the Tourism and Antiquities Minister, said in a statement on Monday that the hotel occupancy rate during the Eid Al-Fitr holiday did not exceed the 25 percent cap.
He added that the average occupancy rate at hotels reached 8 percent in South Sinai, 13 percent in the Red Sea governorate, 25 percent in Suez's Ain Sokhna city, 25 percent in Alexandria, 4 percent in the North Coast and Matrouh, and 9 percent in Greater Cairo.
All these hotels have been subject to "constant inspections" during the religious holiday by inspection committees formed by the ministry to guarantee that all the requirements had been met, Al-Assi added.
Last month, 78 out of 172 hotels who submitted reoperation requests had received the health safety certificate after demonstrating that they had followed the health guidelines laid out by the government.
According to the newly-announced regulations, the hotels are not permitted to hold parties, weddings, or overnight activities. Their restaurants can only serve pre-set menus, as buffet services are banned, and dining tables should be set at a safe distance to reduce the risk of virus transmission.
The regulations also state that a small facility or an entire floor at every tourist resort is to be allocated for isolating confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases.
After the partial resumption of operations, Egypt’s Red Sea governorate announced on Saturday the detection of the first coronavirus case in one of the operational hotels.
The case was detected at one resort affiliated to a hotel with a lower occupancy, according to Governor Amr Hanafy.
Egypt has recorded 24,985 coronavirus cases and 959 fatalities since the first case was recorded in the country in March.