(ST LUCIA TIMES) – Saint Lucia has announced a relaxation on the sale of alcohol, as part of new COVID-19 protocols.
The new measures will be in force from December 15, 2020 to January 11, 2021, Chairman of the National COVID-19 Response Committee and Minister for Tourism, Dominic Fedee told a nationally televised news conference Wednesday.
“We had the restriction on the sale of alcohol and you would remember that while we allowed the grab and go in restaurants and in bars, the bars were allowed under the previous protocols to close at four,” he explained.
“We are now saying that both restaurants and bars can continue to serve alcohol within the premises and also on a take way basis up until 11 pm. This will also allow the restaurants to reinstitute the dine-in facility,” Fedee stated.
However he made it clear that there will be zero tolerance for violating the protocol.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George, in explaining the reason for the new alcohol and restaurant regulations, acknowledged that the month of December represents a high risk period for social activities.
“However, the protocols once implemented, the biggest issue we noted was not with the protocols but the implementation,” Belmar-George observed.
But she explained that given that there would be better regulation through the use of the COVID-wardens who would be monitoring the institutions, the hope is that there would be better regulation.
Minister Dominic Fedee warned that non-compliant businesses could face a complete shutdown for as much as two weeks.
“We also agreed that there will be no Christmas parties, there will be no New Year’s Eve celebrations in public of any kind, no Assou Square, no national day or J’ Ouvert celebrations and there will be no corporate staff parties etc,” the Minister explained.
He said the continuation of a blend of working from home and also at the work place where possible is recommended.
In addition, Fedee announced an amendment to business operating hours, moving them from 9.pm to 11 pm.
He said the decision was taken to allow for the facilitation of Christmas shopping, in order to reduce crowding and allow businesses to better manage the flow of individuals going through the various business places during Christmas period.
He said special exemptions would continue for the education sector for students to have face to face tuition where necessary for laboratory work and School Based Assessments (SBAs) to be done.
“For students who are preparing for CXC and CAPE and also the Common Entrance Examinations – we want to have an environment whereby all of the students are going to do well,” Fedee stated.
Fedee appealed to Saint Lucians to be responsible, protect themselves and protect their loved ones.