The Government of St Lucia has implemented several measures aimed at limiting further spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as the island sees a worrying surge in new cases of the infectious disease.
According to Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, the measures are effective Friday evening (October 30) and imposed on recommendation of Chief Medical Officer Sharon Belmar-George.
“Given the current status of active cases and projections, the Government of Saint Lucia is implementing protocols to curb the spread of COVID-19 to be effective today, October 30,” Chastanet explained.
To this end, a daily curfew from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am is imposed to discourage the physical spread of people during typical hours of high-risk social activity islandwide.
The hosting of contact-sports, high-risk sporting activities and other event are no longer permitted. The government said a list of approved non-contact-sports is to be released in the coming days.
Additionally, all agencies and businesses have been urged to implement a ‘blended service/operations approach’ where possible for employees.
The work from home approach should allow for the functioning of all services and operations utilising online platforms and standard health protocol where feasible, the government added.
Chastanet indicated that the work from home recommendation aims to reduce the physical numbers in the workplace and curb possible transmission.
Mass gatherings are now capped at 25 persons, per venue, per activity. The St Lucian government warned that “no exemptions would be extended for ground space or structural provisions”.
Churches and other religious institutions will purportedly be guided by the square footage of their respective spaces.
“Each religious institution must be aware of how many people can access the building but the maximum number of people – 100 for those institutions that are very large,” Chastanet explained.
Public and private schools, which were ordered closed in mid-March, will remain so amid the COVID resurgence.
Education has not been put on hold, however, as schools are being urged to ensure continued learning via alternate and telecommunication mediums.
Bars across the island are still being allowed to operate, however, patrons are prohibited from consuming alcohol on-premises; takeaways are the only services allowed by restaurants. Both entities are mandated to end their operations at or before 9:00 pm to coincide with the nightly curfew.
With six new cases on Sunday, St Lucia has confirmed 84 cases of COVID-19—54 of which have come in the last two weeks.
The island is currently managing 56 active cases, and encouragingly, is yet to record any coronavirus-related deaths.