Published on : Monday, August 31, 2020
“Reopening restaurants and cafes is vital for the tourism and services sectors; however, the Lebanese health remains the basis,” Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Twitter, in a report from state news agency NNA.
Lebanon is balancing the re-opening of its tourism and hospitality sectors carefully amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic, which could harm public health should these businesses be allowed to operate again without health protocols in place.
“Therefore, we are closely following-up deliberations of the coronavirus committee with the concerned economic sectors to reach procedures for re-operating in this sector according to strict health measures”.
The country’s tourism and hospitality sectors are a major dollar earner, with direct and indirect receipts amounting to $10.4 billion making up 19.1 percent of the Lebanese economy – the second highest in the Middle East region.
Lebanon however has been plagued by street protests, earlier prompted by a foreign currency liquidity crisis, resulting in a vicious cycle by impacting on the dollar-earning tourism segment – as well as the wider economy – due to the resulting uncertainty and instability.
The onset of coronavirus likewise exacerbated the sector’s misfortunes, with 531 new infections raising the country’s caseload to 14,248.
At Rafic Hariri University Hospital, officials there said there are 70 coronavirus patients admitted in the facility, with 26 under critical care, while 18 suspected cases were transferred from hospitals overnight.