Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 11th, 2020 (ZIZ News): Tourism stakeholders came together at the Marriott Resort on Wednesday to discuss with members of the Covid-19 Task Force plans to reopen the economy beginning with the reopening of bars and restaurants.
For months bars and restaurants have been closed to prevent people from gathering and spreading the Coronavirus but now the health authorities are advising the reopening of these businesses with specific guidelines in place.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Carlene Henry Morton said it is very important to let the science guide the decision-making when reopening bars and restaurants.
“There must be a science based approach toe reopening of the sector as the Covid-19 pandemic is primarily a health sector crisis and must be handled foremost by the health professionals and the persons with the required expertise in disease prevention and control. All of the countries or states that have been coping with Covid-19 with high levels of success or who have managed to control its spread have adopted a science based approach,” she said.
She said there must be a gradual phased opening of the tourism sector and all individuals must follow the safety protocols and standards that will be put in place and enforced.
Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Hazel Laws gave information on the nature of coronavirus, how it’s spread, and measures that bars and restaurants can take to restrict its spread.
She also emphasized that going to restaurants and bars is a social event that can lead to the spread of the disease.
“When patrons and customers come to a bar and restaurant they like to sit down and talk and laugh and really share. But we need to remember that even in doing so individuals run the risk of emitting droplets that can be viral laden,” she said. “When you look at the science coming out of China and Europe a number of persons who diagnosed with Covid-19 when they were interviewed by their medical practitioner they were able to say that they picked it up at Restaurant X or Restaurant Y,”
During the discussion, the participants looked at models used in other Caribbean countries and added their own input to shape a policy that could be used for St. Kitts and Nevis.
The final set of guidelines will be laid out in a forthcoming Statutory Rules and Orders legislation.
No date has been set as yet to reopen bars and restaurants.