President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has introduced what he calls a ‘phased approach’ to bring the economy back to life as he has eased some restrictions imposed on social gatherings and the movement of people to contain the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
Despite the number of recorded cases hitting more than 8,000 as of Sunday May 31, 2020, President Akufo-Addo says it is time for some important activities to resume, at least partially, in order to reduce the socio-economic impact, the restrictions have brought on people.
Some of the businesses and gatherings that have been given green light to come back from hibernation are restaurants, schools, religious events, among others, but under the condition that they will respect and follow the laid down rules outlined.
For example, restaurants can now open, but those providing seated services must operate under appropriate social distancing arrangements and hygiene protocols. Again, conferences, workshops, weddings, and political activities, except rallies, are allowed to take place but with limited numbers not exceeding 100 persons present, with the appropriate social distancing and hygiene protocols.
Schools have also been opened but to final year students in the university, senior high, and junior high but with limited numbers in each classroom, along with observing all the preventive protocols outlined by the Ministry of Health.
The news will come as a sigh of relief to private schools, especially, as the restrictions effectively blocked all their revenue sources, making it difficult to even pay salaries of staff, with most of them receiving either half or no salary at all since April.
The President, however, sounded a stern warning to the affected entities that there will be monitoring of activities to assess whether they are operating within the set conditions. Failure to do so will result in closure of the defaulting institution.
“Whilst we step up public education of the protocols on public gatherings, let me also state that regulatory agencies will undertake random checks to ensure conformity with these rules, and the security services will be tasked to enforce them. Should any institution fail to adhere to these directives, its activity will be immediately prohibited, and relevant sanctions applied,” he said.
Unfortunately, there was bad news for the aviation and all other transportation industries as the restrictions on travel and movements of people across the borders of the country remain in force.
President Akufo-Addo further assured the country he will continue to monitor the situation and lift the other bans as and when necessary in order to bring the lives of people and economic activities back to normal.
“I know, at firsthand, the devasting impact the measures employed to defeat the virus has had on our social, religious, cultural and economic lives, as well as on our jobs, and the education of our children, and yet, because of love of country, we have borne with them. I know, however, that we cannot live with these restrictions forever, and that it is imperative we find a safe way to return our lives to normality, as other nations across the globe are trying to do,” he said.