SAYING that it supports the recent changes to the COVID-19 protocols and that there is a need for greater enforcement of the COVID-19 protocols by the relevant authorities, the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture has called on government to move decisively to curb the spread of the virus.
“The Chamber also strongly urged that in this critical time with the Delta variant present in St. Lucia, government needed to move decisively to curb the activities that appeared to be the major causes of the current spread before the virus becomes out of control. The numerous social activities and mass crowd events, the breaches of curfew and the non-observance of the safety covid-19 protocols needed to be addressed frontally,” noted the Chamber in a statement following a meeting with the COVID-19 command center Wednesday.
The meeting was to discuss the current COVID-19 situation in St. Lucia and to get updated information and exchange views on the matter and the way forward.
“An update was provided on the current COVID-19 Situation in which the presence of the Delta variant and the accompanying threats was highlighted by the Chief Medical Officer. The continued rapid increase in the number of persons being treated for COVID-19 was also identified as a cause for grave concern. The Ministry of Health reiterated that the current situation was grave, as the continued actions of the many people who were ignoring the recommended protocols, calls for social distancing and the wearing of masks, in an environment of low vaccination, did not augur well for a reduction in infection numbers,” explained the Chamber.
According to the Chamber it was implored to urge its members to be more vigilant and stringent in enforcing the long standing protocols in their businesses, including, regular sanitizing of often touched surfaces, wearing of face masks, physical distancing of employees, mounting barriers between customers and staff where possible, as well as requiring sanitizing of hands before or on entering offices, and limiting the number of customers permitted to enter a business place at any one time.
“The need for close observance of all protocols was reinforced by the Public Health Department revealing that they had noted numerous instances where businesses do not enforce the protocols or have become lackadaisical when it comes to observing the protocols. It was stressed that with the presence of the Delta variant on island, businesses needed to be even more vigilant as this variant was prone to spread more easily and more quickly,” the Chamber explicated in a statement.
The Chamber opined that from the information shared, the business community appeared not to be the prime source of spread or cause of the current increase in COVID-19 incidences, and thus it supports the Ministry of Health’s approach of being strategic and targeted in their response.
The Chamber agrees to encourage its members to redouble the observance and implementation of all COVID-19 Protocols in the workplace; indicate its support for the Government’s national vaccination effort to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 Virus; urge its members to provide their staff with all the required information and education on vaccines and vaccinations so they can make informed choices; urge all business in all sectors to follow and respect the health protocols and laws related to wearing of masks, physical distancing, mass crowd events and the operating hours for business and to participate in the National Consultation on Vaccination.
The Chamber stated that it agrees with the Ministry that unless the behavior of citizens changed and the rate of vaccination increased swiftly, the country could soon be facing the need for some level of “shutdown”, which would not only hurt the lives of people but also the economy. The Chamber agreed to use its best office to urge all its members, and St. Lucians in general to heed the advice of the Chief Medical Officer to get vaccinated, wear masks, social distance, wash hands and sanitize frequently.