Lifting ban on amplified music no signal to be careless – Chief Medical Officer
Although the ban on amplified music has been lifted, it is not an indication that local protocols for COVID-19 are any less strict.
So says chief medical officer (CMO), Dr Simone Keizer-Beache, who is pleading with the public to adhere to the specific protocols that have been issued in relation to large gatherings.
“We have realized that persons have interpreted the lifting of the amplified music ban as a relaxation of the previously issued advisory. However, we want to reemphasize that instead of reducing our precautionary actions, we need to double down and increase our efforts,” the CMO told SEARCHLIGHT this week.
Keizer-Beache expressed concern about the reluctance by members of the public to use masks and physically distance at places where many people gather like funerals, meetings, churches and places of entertainment.
When the amplified music ban was lifted on July 10, it coincided with the issuing of the first phase of protocols for mass gatherings, which is expected to run up to July 31.
These protocols made provisions for indoor gatherings with a maximum of 200 persons and outdoor gatherings with a maximum of 300 persons.
The CMO said the majority of people at these mass gatherings are expected to wear masks and adhere to physical distancing guidelines.
It was also recommended that there be one hand sanitizing station for every 40 persons.
“We strongly advise the use of masks whenever you are in a public place, where physical distancing cannot take place.
We strongly advise the use of hand sanitizing stations and we strongly remind persons about cough etiquette and we strongly, strongly, strongly ask that persons abide by the recommendations when we lifted the ban, in terms of recording persons who come into your churches; whether it’s for funeral or a regular church service or wedding or someone goes into a nightclub where the control of entry is possible; and the taking of temperatures,” Keizer-Beache said.
She added that this was the only way that health authorities would be able to quickly identify and contain any possible spread.
The protocols for mass gatherings also require organizers of events and owners of establishments to record the name and contact information of patrons.
And the chief medical officer, who again expressed concern for the lack of use of masks and physical distancing at various mass gathering events, called on persons to adhere to this specific protocol of taking contact information.
“Because we know the risk of transmission is going to be higher, you must have a register where feasible,” she said.
Keizer-Beache added that while this may not be feasible for gatherings at a location such as Heritage Square, it is possible at bars, restaurants, nightclubs and church events.
“If you have a fete and you keep a register, we don’t want it unless something happens, but at least, two days down the line, we realise so and so was positive. Who was he exposed to in that space? That is why we ask for the register and also, we ask for temperature screening. In lifting the ban on amplified music, we deliberately made much more specific protocols,” she said.
As at Wednesday, July 22, St Vincent and the Grenadines had recorded a total of 52 Covid-19 cases of which 37 have recovered. There are currently 15 active cases and zero deaths. The two most recent cases were recorded on Wednesday.