What Reopening Means for Morocco: The Latest Coronavirus News
LAST UPDATED : 02 OCTOBER
Morocco. The aroma of spices in the air at the souk. The sights of the bustling city. The rolling sea calling your name. You make your way to the beach one day and plan to experience the rippled red sands of the desert the next.
Ah. Now isn’t that nice? We bet you’re wondering when it will be safe to travel to Morocco now, if you weren’t already. Well, we have some good news. Flights to Morocco from the UK have resumed.
You know what - before we go any further, let’s have a recap on what’s happening with the lockdown in Morocco and the latest advice for travelling to Morocco.
Morocco has been on lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus since 20 March. Authorities in the country declared a nighttime curfew to fortify the quarantine restrictions put in place. For four weeks, Moroccans were not permitted to leave their homes between the hours of 6pm and 6am. The curfew was loosened by two hours a day in observance of Ramadan, beginning on 23 April.
Just days before the curfew was instated, restaurants, cafes and hammams were told to shut their doors, along with all the other nonessential businesses and public places.
The state of emergency that was declared by Saad Eddine El Othmani, Morocco’s Head of Government, was originally scheduled to expire on 20 May. The government decided, however, that it would be best to extend the order a few more weeks - now it is set to end on 10 October.
Alright, so it sounds like all we have to do is hold out until that fateful Saturday when Morocco opens up again in October.
Is it safe to travel to Morocco right now ?
It’s clear that El Othmani’s priority lies with human lives. His extension of the lockdown to 10 October shows just that. Although Morocco wants to move forward, just like the rest of us, the government is being smart about how it goes about loosening restrictions.
So how does Morocco plan to monitor health and safety once it starts to reopen? Similarly to other countries, Morocco has opted for a sanitation and hygiene certificate, which can be granted when tourism transportation companies reach a certain quality of hygiene and sanitation that meets international standards.
Because tourism plays a major role in the Moroccan economy, the government is eager to get it going again. However, they are not willing to sacrifice health or safety by inviting holiday-goers over without the right measures in place. We think this is a good thing!
Tourism in Morocco in 2020
We don’t know if the Moroccan shut down is going to be extended, but we have to remember that when Morocco does open again, the wait will have been well worth it.
There’s nothing quite like sipping mint tea and eating B’ssara in the morning as you overlook the Bay of Tangier from your hotel room. Hotel occupancy has been down 63% since the lockdown was put into place in March. The hotels are practically shaking with excitement to open their doors to you, trust us.
Morocco is doing its best to take the COVID-19 pandemic in stride and take responsible measures to keep people safe. As the pandemic began to slow, the government gave the go-ahead on the reopening of souks - which are sort of like farmer’s markets - on 10 May.
It wasn’t just a free-for-all at the market though. There were plenty of regulations in place to avoid the potential spread of the virus. For starters, they are now scheduled over a four day period, instead of the typical one day affair, to spread out attendance. And souks are only permitted to reopen in the COVID-free regions of Morocco.
When Will Morocco Allow Tourists?
Well, we’re not sure right now - but it could be soon! While they did partially reopen their borders on 14 July to allow visitors to leave the country and let Moroccan citizens back in, they are still closed for international travel and tourism. The state of emergency is currently set to end on 10 October, and we’re sure travel restrictions will be reassessed then.
The good news is that Morocco is a beautiful place to visit year-round, so you’ll enjoy your next trip no matter when it is. We can’t say for sure when Morocco will be open for tourism again. If we’re being optimistic, we can hope to start packing our bags soon.
It’s also important to note that the UK government still recommends that you don’t travel to Morocco unless absolutely necessary - and even then, once you return back to the UK after your trip, you will have to self-isolate for 14 days. It looks like it’s best to hold off on booking your holiday for the time being… but we’ve got our fingers crossed that Morocco will be added to the list of government-approved travel corridors soon!
And this doesn’t mean we can’t still plan our trips and have them mapped out for whenever it becomes safe to travel again!
When Morocco does open again, you can expect the razzle-dazzle of clubs, poolside bars, beaches and markets to captivate you. This is a country with the romance that Paris has to offer mixed with the flair of North Africa. Not only that, but it boasts a harmonious balance between desert and mountain, and urban and rural.
If you’re anything like us, food is important when it comes to where you’re going to travel. The smell of any Moroccan dish will lift you off of your feet. There you are, minding your own business while exploring the character and charm that Chefchaouen has to offer, when all of a sudden you can’t feel the ground. That’s because you walked past a restaurant that was masterfully blending flavours and spices to prepare the couscous you’ll definitely end up having for dinner - we don’t know about you, but it gets us every time.
For more about when Morocco, along with other countries, will reopen, check out our blog so you can stay informed with the latest information surrounding travel in 2020.