CAIRO: Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has canceled New Year’s celebrations to avoid mass gatherings.
The decision came in response to Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly’s directions, which were taken during the meeting of the Supreme Committee for the Management of the Coronavirus Crisis.
Assistant Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Abdel Fattah Al-Assy underlined the need to ban all “cultural” and “touristic” events or any celebrations on New Year’s Eve to avoid mass gatherings.
He also called for “the strict implementation of the precautionary measures previously taken in the past period, while taking punitive measures against restaurants, cafes and hotels that do not adhere to implementing such measures.”
Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly earlier headed the meeting, during which ministers and officials discussed efforts to counter the coronavirus as well as ways of providing the vaccine.
The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities renewed its warnings to the Chamber of Tourist Establishments to adhere to the opening and closing of tourist restaurants and cafes in accordance with the times set by the Cabinet. The ministry said that nightclubs would remain closed until a decision was made by Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Dr. Khaled El-Anany in light of the measures taken by the state to control the spread of the coronavirus.
Singing stars had already announced when they would be performing on New Year’s Eve so the latest decision put organizers and singers in a difficult position. Many organizers called for refunds for people who had reserved tables for New Year’s Eve parties.
Singers had set almost impossible conditions to perform at parties. Such conditions included a 50 percent deposit of their fees — often as much as half a million Egyptian pounds — non-refundable if the party was canceled.
Al-Assy said that the ministry had issued recommendations for tourist establishments to ban gatherings on New Year’s Eve. “We do not want to disturb people, but the whole world is implementing measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Such measures include banning gatherings and shutting down hotels,” he said.
“The ministry had issued recommendations for tourist establishments by banning gatherings on New Year’s Eve. The ministry’s teams are following-up on the implementation of the measures in such establishments.”
Al-Assy confirmed that nightclubs would remain closed until further a decision by the ministry in light of the measures taken by the state to counter the spread of the coronavirus.
The ministry stressed that weddings, parties, special occasions and gatherings would continue to be banned from being held in closed halls until a decision to reopen the halls was issued.