A drafting error in the Executive Instrument that imposed restrictions is partly responsible for what led to Wednesday’s directives by the Ghana Tourism Authority allowing drinking spots to open, Tourism Minister Barbara Oteng Gyasi has said.

Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, the Minister for Tourism Arts and Culture

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‘‘We recognize that this issue may have arisen because of an inadvertent indication of drinking bars being exempt in the Executive Instrument (EI) 64. When you look at clause 1 of the EI which lists activities that are banned, it includes night clubs and drinking bars but when you get to the clause where they indicate the exemptions, all the activities that are listed under exemptions, are not captured under Clause 1, that is the Imposition of Restrictions’’ she indicated.

‘‘So we have given it a passive interpretation to indicate that the inclusion of drinking bars under Clause 4 of the exemptions, was inadvertent on the part of the drafting and therefore, right from the beginning of application of the ban on public gatherings, drinking bars as well as night clubs, were banned from operating. The status quo remains the same. Drinking bars and night clubs are not open, food chains and restaurants however are allowed to open but only per the guidelines introduced’’ she concluded.

Prior contradiction.

Earlier this week, the Ghana Tourism Authority in a press statement, eased up restrictions for the hospitality industry, by indicating that Food Chains and Restaurants could operate sit-down services by observing social distancing protocols.

The circular also indicated that drinking bars could operate and observe social distancing protocols. But night clubs remain closed.

“All hotels can operate as normal and host their guests, subject to the specified elevated hygiene protocols and social distancing. Food chains and restaurants can operate sit-down, as well as, pickup and delivery services while observing appropriate social distancing and hygiene protocols…Drinking bars can operate while observing appropriate social distancing and hygiene protocols,” the GTA’s statement had said.

However, the Tourism Ministry moved quickly to squash the circular on Wednesday evening, throwing stakeholders into a state of confusion.

”We wish to clarify that further to the directive of His excellency the President, regarding the extension of the ban on public gatherings, the status quo remains the same. This means that bars, drinking bars, and night clubs remain closed. They cannot operate. Food chains and restaurants can operate take-outs and delivery services. This means that you can go to your food chain, order your food, and take it away. The same applies to restaurants. Alternatively, you could place a phone call and ask for the order to be delivered to you wherever you are” she clarified.

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