Press Release:– The Saint Lucia Hospitality & Tourism Association (SLHTA) is urging all citizens to adhere to the new COVID-19 protocols announced on Wednesday evening as the island faces an upsurge in COVID-19 cases.
From Sunday to Thursday this week, the island recorded 333 COVID-19 cases and 5 COVID-related deaths. This should be of grave concern to the entire citizenry.
The SLHTA acknowledges that Saint Lucia is currently experiencing our highest numbers of positive COVID-19.
Given the high rate of transmission of these cases, the potential impact on our healthcare system is very concerning.
The potential threat of the Delta variant, which has already been confirmed in neighbouring islands, is exceedingly worrisome. As a result of these latest developments, the SLHTA believes that we all need to be proactive by making potentially uncomfortable sacrifices in order to get the numbers down.
Evidently, the COVID-19 variants pose a greater threat than the original strain particularly given its impact on children and young adults. The fact that Saint Lucia’s vaccination rate remains very low presently further compounds the problem.
This week, regional news reports noted that Trinidad and Tobago recently recorded its first mother-to-child transmission of COVID-19. On Monday, the Director of Women’s Health in that country’s Ministry of Health told reporters that nearly 300 pregnant women have so far contracted the virus, with some becoming critically ill.
Chief Executive Officer of the SLHTA, Noorani Azeez, says that the SLHTA is mindful that while these new amendments to the protocols will create some level of discomfort on an individual and business level, the national good must remain paramount in the decision-making process. He also urged those businesses mostly affected to liaise with their member associations for guidance.
“The SLHTA fully understands that the new protocols rolled out for the period 13th – 31st August 2021 will affect some businesses more than they would others,” he said. “Therefore, we urge those businesses that would be hardest hit to engage their relevant associations to articulate their individual concerns.”
Amidst these concerns, the SLHTA welcomes the new measures adopted this week by the Government in its bid to curb the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases. Internationally, these best practices — such as curfew, restricting large gatherings of people, sanitization, masks and social distancing — have served to deliver the results we hope to achieve.
SLHTA President, Paul Collymore, also weighed in on the new guidelines, which were announced by Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre, in an address to the nation on Wednesday evening following a NEMAC meeting.
“The SLHTA appreciates deeply Government’s approach to addressing breaches and shortfalls in a more compassionate manner. We trust that business owners and individuals will play their part in the collective effort to adapt to these global challenges,” Collymore said.