This year is turning out to be a bumper one for the entertainment industry when it comes to events; there are over 50 events happening in this festive season.
For events organisers this is a season to cash in and for patrons, a time to unwind after what has been a stressful year but for health authorities and other agencies, this could be a nightmare in waiting because of COVID-19; especially because of the fast-spreading Omicron variant.
It is in this light that the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) is pleading with event organisers, artistes and patrons not to abuse the festive season and cause the government to regret allowing events to happen.
In an interview with Graphic Showbiz, CEO of the GTA Mr Akwasi Agyemang, said there was the need for everyone to be cautious.
“What is the point of people contracting the disease after the events are over? We should not come to the point where events will be shut down again because a lot of people contracted COVID-19 during this festive season. Everything depends on us.
“We should obey the COVID-19 protocols and try not to beat the system because a shutdown of events is a big loss to the entertainment industry. Musicians who have their own shows and event organisers should understand the system by working with us.
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“If an event centre takes 5,000 patrons and we ask that 3,000 is okay because of social distancing, we want event organisers and musicians who have their own shows to adhere and understand us,” he stated.
In October, The GTA released the list of events for its December in GH initiative and also indicated that people would have to show their vaccination cards before entering venues.
However, not every event being held in this season is under the purview of the GTA; leaving people concerned as to how the protocols will be enforced.
In answer to that, Akwasi Agyemang said they had engaged the National COVID-19 Task Force, Ghana Health Service, National Surveillance Team and other security agencies who were working closely with event organisers and musicians to make sure everything goes on well.
“The National Surveillance team will set up at all the major venues and verify the vaccination cards. We are making sure no vaccine no entry is enforced and I am happy that some of the event organisers themselves have taken it upon themselves to do a quick test before entry. We have monitored some of the events that have taken place and they were well organised.
“To revellers, we are just pleading with you that you play it safe as you party. We cannot be everywhere but we are pleading with everyone to observe the COVID-19 protocols so that we can all stay alive. We should know that the virus is not completely gone so there is the need for us to be careful,” he said.
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Akwasi Agyemang said it was the dream of the GTA that no cases of COVID-19 would be recorded after the festive season.
“We are making sure that we record no cases after all the events are done. We just cannot go back to the lockdown again due to an increase in cases. We are making sure everything goes well,” he stated.