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COVID19 protocols not relaxed – CMO

COVID19 protocols not relaxed – CMO
Dr Simone Keizer, Chief Medical Officer

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Though some persons seem to have reverted to pre-COVID behaviour, regarding masks and physical distancing guidelines, local authorities are reminding citizens that there has been no relaxation of COVID19 related protocols in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

According to this country’s mass gathering protocols, only 10 persons are allowed to be at an indoor gathering, and 20 persons at an outdoor gathering.

While attending these gatherings, it is expected that persons wear masks and obey the rules of physical distancing.

However, in recent times, people have been observed gathering socially at bars and in popular public spaces in large numbers, flouting these guidelines.

Omnibuses traversing various routes in St Vincent also seem to have abandoned the rule to carry only half of the licensed capacity.

“…We see down at Heritage Square, we are very concerned about what seems to be that these bars and so on, they have gone back to pre-COVID sort of activities and crowds and so on, so we are extremely concerned about that,” Dr Simone Keizer-Beache, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) told SEARCHLIGHT this week.

She said it is acknowledged that given La Soufriere’s explosive eruption, many persons were displaced and moved to shelters, which creates some difficulty with regard to physical spacing in some instances.

The CMO said however, that there has been no relaxation of the protocols. She added that to her knowledge, the Statutory Rule and Order (SR&O) No4 of 2021 Public Health COVID Rules has not expired.

The SR&O, which was implemented in February, allows for fines ranging from $100 to $1000 for persons who fail to adhere to any part of the order. 

It was implemented to bolster the country’s response to the COVID19 pandemic and enforces the mass gathering protocols with particular emphasis on bars, public establishments and private establishments to which the public has access.

The Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force is the body tasked with the implementation of these protocols.

Commissioner of Police, Colin John told SEARCHLIGHT this week via Whatsapp that there is no relaxation of the mass gathering protocol but because of additional duties, “it is not always possible to police that aspect as best as we can”.