PRACTICE – After more than six months of closure and despite the new cases of coronavirus identified in the country in recent days, Morocco is very fearfully reopening its borders to foreign tourists.
This is mixed news for Moroccan tourists. Although the health situation associated with Covid-19 is still alarming (The balance of pollution reached an unprecedented level with 2,234 new cases on 7 September, editor’s note) and that the state of emergency had been extended until mid-November, the government announced on 6 September a gradual reopening of the country for tourists. Before packing your suitcases in the direction of Morocco, decrypt the conditions – quite strict – for this timid reopening.
Before departure: test and reservation at a hotel establishment
Since 6 September, therefore, foreigners have the right to access Moroccan territory on three conditions: to be from countries not subject to visa formalities (such as France therefore); present a negative PCR test less than 48 hours old (for travelers over 11 years of age); as well as a serological test. Before departure, they must also fill out a health form reproducing their journey during the last few days and have a confirmed reservation at a hotel establishment or an invitation from a Moroccan company.
The problem? Of the vast majority of hotels closed since March in the country (around 95%), not all have reopened. In addition, air traffic has not yet resumed its normal course. The airline Royal Air Maroc announced on Twitter that it had postponed the resumption of its regular flights by one month. Ditto at Transavia, whose flights put up for sale represent 50% of the program compared to last year in the same period.
See also – Roissy: thermal cameras to detect passengers carrying Covid-19
On site: partially quarantined and closed public places
In addition, in recent weeks, the Moroccan authorities have quarantined certain districts of several major cities (Tangier, Fez, Marrakech, Beni Mellal, Rabat, Salé). In these areas, most public places are closed (cinemas, sports halls, museums, nightclubs, theaters), access to the beaches has been blocked, and bars and restaurants have been forced to lower the curtain at
Only a few mosques and hammams are still available, which welcome a limited number of people and are subject to compliance with the health rules imposed by the government. Finally, assemblies of more than ten people are banned so far.
As for Casablanca, the city has been put under a bell until 21 September (this measure can be extended). Therefore, all access is blocked unless the local authorities give permission. Motion controls and night exit bans have also been introduced. In the country’s economic capital, cafés and shops close at 20:00, restaurants at 21.00.
Across the country, tourists must abide by the same health rules as those imposed on Moroccans. It is mandatory to wear a mask in all transport, public places and on the street, even when physical distance can be respected. It is also mandatory in the car of two people when engaging in physical activity and in restaurants. Permission is granted to remove it only for eating, drinking and smoking. Children up to the age of 11 are not formally required to wear it, although the majority do so automatically.
As the health situation is worrying on the spot, other measures and recommendations could be added to these in the coming days.
Useful apps and websites for your stay
Since 26 May, Morocco has also had its tracking application, Wiqaytna (in French “our protection”). This tool makes it possible, via Bluetooth technology, to know if you are close to a person who has been diagnosed positive for coronavirus.
To better prepare your stay and to ensure that your travels comply with the decisions of the Moroccan authorities, it is advisable to regularly consult the website of the French Embassy in Morocco.