(Kingstown – St Vincent) – Minister of Health St Clair Prince, speaking on WEFM on Thursday, said there are new protocols for the operation of taxis at AIA.
“As of July 23rd, only fully vaccinated taxi drivers can operate at the Argyle International Airport”.
Prince says there are 350 registered authorized taxi drivers in the state, of which 31 on the mainland and 13 in Bequia are fully vaccinated.
Currently, there are 44 out of 350 registered taxi drivers who are fully vaccinated. Prince said it would be in the interest of operators to get vaccinated.
On Sunday, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Simone Keizer-Beache said that efforts to engage taxi drivers related to vaccines and the Covid-19 protocols are ongoing as visitors make increasing demands to be transported only by vaccinated drivers.
According to Dr. Keizer-Beache, they are looking into having some designation between unvaccinated and vaccinated taxi drivers so that people can choose.
Dr. Keizer-Beache acknowledged that there are insufficient taxi drivers at this time, that there will be a logistical challenge “in terms of ensuring that we vaccinate taxi drivers to transport people.” On the other hand, guests are requesting that the taxi driver that “brings them to the hotel are fully vaccinated,” the CMO disclosed.
In the same vein, the Ministry of Health has discussed the protocols for cruise ships entry with the tourism officials.
“We are working closely with the Ministry of Tourism on the cruise ship protocols; there’s a committee in place. Dr. Duncan is involved with that along with our epidemiologist, P.S. of Tourism, and some of the other stakeholders”, the CMO stated.
There is an emphasis worldwide, within CARICOM, on vaccinated passengers, CMO said, and to ensure that the people interacting with tourists are also vaccinated.
When asked about craft and other vendors plying their trade at tourism sites, Keizer-Beache disclosed they would have to choose to be vaccinated or not, “that’s what it is looking like.”
If persons cannot take the vaccine, they will have to undergo testing on the day of the visit, the CMO stated.