Press Release:– Following recommendations from the COVID-19 Command Centre and a meeting of the National Emergency Management Advisory Committee (NEMAC) and stakeholders, the Government of Saint Lucia has extended specific protocols until December 14th 2020, as Saint Lucia continues to manage the spread of COVID-19.
At a press briefing on Friday morning, Prime Minister Honourable Allen Chastanet, Chairman of the Command Centre Honourable Dominic Fedee, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sharon Belmar-George and Assistant Commissioner of Police Milton Desir, announced the extension of measures to limit movement and curtail social gatherings in order to reduce the number of active COVID-19 cases on island.
Following consensus from the NEMAC meeting, it was also decided that an adjustment to the restrictions on sporting activities would now athletes to receive one-on-one training.
A modification was also made to allow very limited opening of the education sector to support students preparing for CXC, Common Entrance Exams and students enrolled at SALCC in subjects which require use of the laboratory.
A final adjustment was made to allow attendance at churches based on the square footage at the institutions.
The announced decisions are as follows:
- Continuing to work from home where possible: All agencies and businesses will continue to implement a Blended Service/ Operations Approach where possible for the employees. Additionally, where possible there should be a complete move to staff and board meetings being held virtually/online platform. Separate provisions apply for sectors e.g. Essential Services, Construction, Manufacturing, Call centers, etc.
- Continuation of limited business operating hours: All business operations and commercial activities must end by 9:00PM daily, as guided by The COVID19 (Prevention & Control) Act, Section 17(2)(b). Separate provisions apply for sectors e.g. Essential Services, Construction, Manufacturing, Call centers, etc.
- Social gathering restrictions: Mass Crowd Events and Social Gatherings are strictly prohibited including permissions for loud music. In public and private settings, individuals are encouraged to limit their contact to their immediate households. No provisions will be made for celebrations (receptions or parties) of any kind including for Birthdays, Retirements, Wedding or funeral receptions, Wakes, Boat Rides, Beach Picnics, etc.
- Religious Services/ Church: All daily or regular church and religious services are permitted in accordance with social distancing protocols. Religious institutions may carry out services according to the square footage of the church. This is guided by each institution’s guidelines and protocols approved by the Ministry of Health. Special religious rites, including Christenings, Weddings and Funerals will be limited to 25 individuals (inclusive of observers and the service leaders). Churches must strictly enforce exit plans.
- Continued restrictions on alcohol sales: Consumption of Alcohol on Premises is not allowed. Stand-alone bars must close at 4:00PM. “Take-Away” policy stays in effect for bars until 4:00PM. Absolutely no gathering inside or outside of bars. Strict measures of enforcement will be taken. The sale of sealed alcohol is permitted at Supermarkets, Minimarts and Gas Stations.
- Restrictions on all sporting activity, gyms included: All team and high-contact sporting activities, inclusive of in-door and outdoor trainings, local competitions, gym workouts or social activities are prohibited for the given time period. Provisions apply for individual or immediate family households to exercise in a safe, open-air space. These activities may include running or walking, cycling, home gyms, yoga etc. Special permission granted for training athletes requiring one-on-one coaching/training for non-contact sports. Special permission granted for 1-on-1 personal training.
- Special considerations for the education sector: Schools are to remain physically closed and exclusively operational via multimedia modules. However, special allowances are made to facilitate the following:
- Students of Tertiary Level Schools in Medical and Natural Science Programs that require laboratory and practical evaluations;
- Students of Secondary School in Forms 4 and 5 that are preparing for regional and international academic evaluations;
- Students of Primary School in Grade 6 that are preparing for national and regional academic evaluations, particularly the Common Entrance Exam.
In announcing the protocols, Prime Minister Chastanet called on all Saint Lucians to play our part in obeying the decisions and encouraged the population to continue wearing a protective mask, practicing social distancing and ensure regular sanitization.
Headline photo caption: COVID-19 press briefing