Curfew to stay 11-5 but visits by seniors, bars, churches under restrictions
Once again stating that she had no intention of shutting down the country, Prime Minister Mia Mottley on Friday evening announced additional public health restrictions designed to thwart a new wave of COVID-19 infections that include 29 children under 12 and another group of 13-person churches.
Speaking to the nation at a televised press briefing, Prime Minister Mottley said that while the existing 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew will remain intact, churches, some businesses and senior care facilities would be subject to two weeks of protocols, starting Sunday.
“We are going to have to ban all visits to nursing homes and hospitals for the elderly, retirement homes, geriatric hospitals, [and] district hospitals, ”she revealed.
Mottley said people would be allowed to drop off packages, which would be sanitized, but all visits must stop.
She said she asked caregivers to explore virtual visits to connect loved ones with patients.
“We don’t want to be deprived of the comforts of their families or the photos of their families,” Mottley said. “In fact, when I went to the geriatric hospital this week, I had to send a virtual hug and a selfie to one of my constituents who is 102 years old and who recognized me and texted me. So I understand the emotion that goes with it, but I ask us, for the moment, to protect them and to drop off the packages and to make the electronic visits as much as possible.
All religious services, including funerals and weddings, will now be limited to 25 people and there will be a mandatory six-foot spacing for those who sit outside their family bubble, she said.
The Prime Minister declared: “The duration of the service or the ceremony will henceforth be limited to 90 minutes as a result…. Likewise, meetings of fraternal societies, private or social clubs, civic associations… from Sunday, will be limited to 25 people. Graduation and receptions will be banned for the moment…. It’s not forever.
She said she was previously informed by Education Minister Santia Bradshaw that most of the graduation ceremonies were in fact virtual and that it went well with a lot of people.
Bars and rum shops will be allowed to stay open, but the prime minister urged drinkers to take their drinks outside the store.
“We don’t want consumption inside the premises, to the extent possible,” she said. “Let people come and buy whatever they want. If you have a well ventilated outdoor capacity, by all means [consumption is permitted]. But we don’t want people standing in the store liming and drinking like they normally would in the past.
Customers who traditionally congregate inside bars and rum shops may exit as the government continues to allow up to 20 people outside, she said.
The hikes must continue, the prime minister said, but without socializing before or after the hike.
“We would prefer the hikes to be in groups of just a hundred people,” Mottley said. “So if you had 200 on this hike, divide it into two hikes. You know that many hands do light work. So if we had 300 in the hikes, divide it into three hikes and start in a staggered fashion. But what we don’t want is people socializing in large numbers after this and certainly not beyond the 20 we talked about earlier.
Pleasure craft must continue at 50% of their capacity and all indoor sport is prohibited at this time. Non-contact outdoor sport is allowed to continue.
On outdoor sports, Prime Minister Mottley announced: “The number of athletes participating in outdoor sports should be limited to 20 people, but in the event that this particular sport requires more than 20, as the cricket, for games or practice, COVID-19 Monitoring Unit approval must be given.
The Prime Minister made it clear that his remarks are directed at business owners, especially those who are not applying the protocols as strongly as they should in dining rooms, warehouses and in enclosures around the world. outdoor where people congregate and simply talk.
“I [am] talking to employees who are not following protocols, especially in the rooms I just mentioned, because you feel that you know someone so well that you might remove your mask; but we don’t have a sign on us saying ‘COVID’…. We just can’t see it. So the only way to protect yourself is to do it yourself and make sure that you consider yourself COVID positive and everyone else around you is COVID positive. “
She called on residents who engage in leisure activities such as beach and outdoor sports not to let their guard down, while warning the country that the fight against the virus is now a marathon that cannot be fought with a sprint.
Mottley also sent a special message to all the faithful, in light of the discovery of three groups of churches.
“For those who are still in the numbers who go to church, we ask you to respect social distance, to adhere to the reality that if you sing, there is a greater probability of this happening”, said she declared. “I can’t tell you not to sing, but I can tell you, for example, that you have to make sure that the distances are there and as much as possible if we can use recorded music, let’s use it. “
She again warned the owners that a large number of visits from family members could cause problems, especially when people feel more relaxed and let their guard down. Mottley also stressed that even family members who have been vaccinated should also wear their masks.
The Prime Minister insisted that the proper wearing of masks, physical distancing, disinfection and vaccination are the weapons that would help the country overcome the new wave of COVID-19 cases and allow citizens to regain a life as close as possible.