By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Government has said it was not in hurry to reopen the hospitality sector, as well as entertainment businesses in view of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
The Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, who stated this at the ministerial briefing on Tuesday, assured residents that the fight against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic by the state government would not bring a total halt to the tourism and entertainment industry of the state.
Recall that the Federal Government had on Monday, June 1, lifted the ban on mosques and churches in the country, based on guidelines and protocols agreed with state governments.
To reopen Lagos hospitality sector is, however, left in the hands of the state government to decide on the appropriate reopening of their business.
According to the commissioner, the state government was not in a hurry to reopen the entertainment sector to the detriment of public health, but must protect the citizens at all times.
Speaking on the gradual ease of the lockdown, Akinbile-Yusuff said: “During this period also, we issued guidelines to operators of hotels and restaurants and some other tourism establishments.
“Facilities that were seen not to have complied with these new directives were sealed off during enforcement exercise by officials of the Ministry.
“Now that the state government is considering full opening of the state’s economy, additional, detailed and extensive guidelines would still be given by the government once plans are concluded to open the sector for full operations.
“It is the desire of the state government that the businesses of these operators are back and functional. We are also mindful of the fact that this sector is one of the highest employers of labour compared to other sectors.
“This implies that if these businesses do not to function, it would lead to loss of jobs for thousands of Lagosians.
“That notwithstanding, as much as these businesses are important, the life of every Lagosian is much more important.
“Businesses must not exist to the detriment of the lives of the people. But if there are modalities that can make you operate at no risk to the populace, then we are ready to adopt such modalities or strategies.
“I want to use this medium to call on owners of hotels and entertainment businesses to regularise their facilities with the government for proper planning, documentation and provision of palliatives.”