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Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Egypt revokes licence of Red Sea hotel after holding pool party despite ban over coronavirus

Egypt started last month to allow hotels that secure a new health and safety certificate to open for domestic tourists at a reduced occupancy rate to revive the tourism sector

Ahram Online , Sunday 14 Jun 2020
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An Egyptian seaside resort (Photo Courtesy of Ministry of Tourism)
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Egypt said it has decided to revoke the licence of a hotel in the Red Sea resort city of Hurghada after it held a party for guests despite a ban meant to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Tourism and antiquities minister Khaled Al-Anany ordered the hotel’s licence be revoked because the facility had failed to adhere to health protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic, the tourism ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

The move came one day after a video of a pool party at the hotel went viral on social media showing guests dancing with what appeared to be the hotel’s animation team. 

The licence of the hotel’s manager will also be revoked, the statement added.

Egypt has banned public gatherings and shuttered schools, universities and places of worship in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. Hotels allowed to reoperate under strict safety rules are not permitted to hold parties, weddings, or overnight activities.

Egypt last month allowed hotels that secure a new health and safety certificate to reopen to domestic tourists at a reduced occupancy rate, in an effort to revive its key tourism sector, which has been hit hard by the virus restrictions.

Besides a ban on parties at hotels, 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 occupancy rate was initially set at 25 percent of the usual capacity in May but was increased earlier this month to 50 percent.

Around 232 hotels nationwide are now allowed to reopen with a reduced capacity.

Egypt hopes a decision to resume international flights to allow foreign tourists to some coastal cities that have been least affected by the coronavirus starting from the beginning of July would help the vital sector recover.

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