FIFTEEN thousand persons are expected to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the first instance as Saint Lucia today begins its roll out of vaccines it has received so far.
Ambulance drivers, nurses, police officers and others on the front lines in the warfare against COVID-19 will be the first set of people to get the vaccines.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet disclosed this much yesterday as he seek to reassure Saint Lucians that all of them will in time be inoculated.
Emphasizing that the COVID-19 protocols that are in place are working the prime minister explained that the next batch of vaccines will be here by Friday and that his government is actively working to get the remaining amount of doses so Saint Lucians on a whole can be vaccinated.
He mentioned getting about 35,000 doses from the COVAX Facility here on island “within the next 10 days” all part of efforts by his government to inoculate the population.
Chastanet meanwhile introduced an amended version of some of the recently implemented protocols which are as follows:
Businesses allowed to reopen
Commercial and business enterprises may be open for business and permitted to operate within the established protocols and minimal operations using blended approach.
Registered farmers and fisher folk included on the essential list of activities
All registered farmers and fisher folk are to be included in the essential list of activities that means once they are registered, they automatically will be able to operate outside of the curfew hours meaning after 7:00 at night or before 4:00 in the morning if their business requires them to be out at such a time.
According to the prime minister “our farmers and fisher folk are producing food for this country and so we do not want to disrupt their normal pattern of work and I think we would all recognize the important role that they play.”
Faith based organizations may hold daily or regular religious ceremonies
Faith based organizations may now hold daily or regular religious ceremonies within the established protocols with the numbers determined by the square footage of the building in keeping with the COVID-19 response plan approved by the Ministry of Equity. This means churches will be moving away from having only 25 worshippers.
Funerals and weddings limited to 25 persons in attendance
Faith based organizations may hold special religious rites including weddings and funerals with a maximum of 25 persons in attendance and that will also be the number that would be limited when they actually go to the graveyard site as well.
Alcohol sales to resume on February 24, 2021
Suspension on sale and disposal of intoxicating liquor to be maintained until 24th February 2021. Upon the lifting of the suspension, no consumption of intoxicating liquor shall be permitted on licensed premises during the period of the 25th of February to the 16th of March. So even when the current suspension comes to an end on the 24th, the intention is that liquor will be able to be sold at grocery stores, both big and small but it will be on a grab and go basis.
Only takeaway service allowed for restaurants
Restaurants and other food establishments operate only with a takeaway service within the curfew hours.
Gyms allowed to reopen under strict protocols
Indoor and outdoor training and gym workouts will be permitted within the established protocols and prohibition on contact and non-contact competitive sporting activities shall remain in place.
Measures shall remain in effect from 17th February 2021 to 16th March 2021.