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Gov’t places new rules over reopening of public places, schools

Oct 15, 2020, 11:16 AM

Effective Thursday, 15 October 2020, His Excellency President Adama Barrow is pleased to declare public places such as hotels, motels, lodges, bars, restaurants, video clubs, museums, public swimming pools and gymnasia throughout The Gambia, open, a dispatch from the Office of the Government Spokesperson states.

Similarly, in exercise of the powers conferred on the Minister of Health by Regulation 23 of The Public Health (Dangerous Infectious Diseases) Protection Regulations, 2020, operators of these public places are asked to strictly adhere to “The Public Health (Reopening and Regulation of Public Premises and Schools) Orders, 2020” by ensuring that:

  1. An employee who displays any symptom of COVID-19 or came into close contact with a person infected with COVID-19 is excused from work;
  2. Employees wash their hands with soap and water before, during, and after preparing food or after touching waste; 
  3. Materials used by a person are cleaned and disinfected before reuse by another person;
  4. Employees use gloves when serving food or handling trash; 
  5. Hand cleansing hygiene materials are available at all times for use by employees and customers at the entrance; 
  6. The maximum number or people allowed within the premises is limited to no more than two-thirds of the usual number, and
  7. Restaurant owners and managers shall ensure that utensils and cutleries are disinfected and heated after every use. 

With the reopening of schools and educational institutions as of Wednesday, 14 September 2020, authorities responsible for these premises shall: 

  1. Provide hand cleansing hygiene materials at all school entrances and ensure that all students hand cleanse before entering school premises; 
  2. Ensure that all students, teachers and staff entering school premises wear face masks correctly;
  3. Check and record the temperature of any student, teacher and staff entering school premises to ensure that they do not exhibit adverse health symptoms; 
  4. Notify local health officials immediately of any suspected case of COVID-19 within school premises;
  5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g., tables, chairs, playground equipment, door handles, sink handles, toilets, and water fountains) within the school and on school buses at least, weekly or between uses as much as possible.
  6. Ensure that all students within the school premises keep a distance of at least one metre from each other;
  7. Not allow sharing of facilities that are difficult to clean or disinfect; 
  8. Frequently clean and disinfect school premises; and
  9. Display in conspicuous places within school premises, signs and messages promoting protective measures against COVID-19.  

All night clubs and casinos shall remain closed.

The Gambia Police Force is empowered to inspect premises without prior notice at any given time. Persons found at particular premises during inspection shall not obstruct a Police Officer in the performance of his or her duties.

A person who breaches a provision of this Public Health (Reopening and Regulation of Schools and Public Places) Orders, 2020, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of Two Thousand Dalasis (D2000) or imprisonment for three (3) months or both.

Equally, all owners, managers and operators of businesses shall clearly display the 1025 Toll-Free hotline of the Ministry of Health within their premises and shall encourage all staff and visitors to call the number for information on the COVID-19 pandemic.

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