HomeNewsCoffee shops and sports halls reopen in Morocco, accelerating its deconfinement

Coffee shops and sports halls reopen in Morocco, accelerating its deconfinement

Morocco announced on Sunday June 21 a new phase of deconfinement as from Thursday June 25 with the reopening of cafes, restaurants and sports halls as well as the resumption of domestic tourism and intercity travel.

Hotels, shopping malls and hammams will be able to reopen from Thursday 25 June, provided that they do not exceed 50% of their capacity, the Ministries of the Interior, Health and Industry have indicated in a joint press release. Road, rail and air transport – for domestic flights only – will resume on the same date. With summer now in place, the beaches will once again be accessible to the public, although with the “obligation to respect physical distance”.

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All shops will now be able to stay open after 8 p.m., according to the same source. The restrictive measures, in force since mid-March to combat the new coronavirus pandemic, had already been relaxed in two stages. This new phase of the “plan to ease containment” takes into account “the changing epidemiological situation” and “the requirements for a gradual return to normal life,” the authorities said.

Morocco, a country of 35 million inhabitants, appears relatively spared by the pandemic with a total of 9,957 contaminations, of which 8,249 cures and 213 deaths officially recorded. This relaxation does not, however, concern half a dozen cities, which remain subject to restrictions. A few rural communes in the west of the country have also been placed under quarantine since Friday’s outbreaks in strawberry farms.

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With the maintenance of the state of health emergency until 10 July, the wearing of masks remains compulsory throughout the country, gatherings are forbidden, and museums, cinemas, theatres and public swimming pools are closed. The measures of distancing and hygiene rules will remain in force, and “in the event of new outbreaks” of contamination, “all measures will be taken to contain them,” the authorities stress.

No announcement has been made on the date for the reopening of the borders, which have been locked since mid-March, while tourism, a key sector of the Moroccan economy, is plunged into an unprecedented crisis. Operators are relying on domestic tourism to mitigate their losses.