How has COVID-19 affected Morocco?
On the 20 March, Morocco entered a State of Health Emergency. This has now been further extended to 11 July 2020. Under the Emergency the country is divided by prefecture or province into two Zones, 1 and 2. Zone 1 has eased the restrictions and has limited movement and opening. In Zone 2 all movement is restricted to buying essential supplies or seeking medical assistance, including from pharmacies. Such movement requires an “exceptional movement certificate” from the Moroccan authorities. Local Mayors and Governors have the power to move areas from Zone 2 to Zone !. And they can re-designate areas to Zone 1.
At the moment - June 18 - Marrakech, as all the major cities, is in Zone 2. So movement is very restricted. Local authorities have the power to completely close down small areas where there is an outbreak, and they frequently do this.
In the Riad we had already put in place extra precautions and hygiene measures to protect our guests and staff. Once there was an announcement of flight suspensions our priority was to help our guests return home. The British community and Embassy staff worked extremely hard to help British tourists from all over Morocco get home. Once this was achieved, we had to focus on our staff welfare, as well as measures introduced by the Moroccan Government to aide and protect employees and citizens.
For future guests who had not taken out travel insurance we have tried to be as flexible as possible with our terms and conditions, including not enforcing the cancellation fee, the re-use of deposits and offering discounts on future bookings.
In the future, when tourism in Morocco opens again, the authorities have put in place measures to ensure that tourists can travel safely. The airports have already been set up with hygiene and control systems. Hotels and accommodations will not be allowed to open legally unless they have put into place hygiene measures which are subject to control and monitoring.