The Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, on Thursday, said that it will be increasing patrols over the Easter weekend to ensure adherence to the “COVID-19 protocols and guidelines”
The notice came on the same day that Chief Medical Officer Dr. Simone Keizer Beache, in a separate statement, said that the Ministry of Health Wellness and the Environment “is advising” Vincentians to stay at home “unless it is absolutely necessary to leave the house”.
“If we must leave, do so, observing the strict social distancing guidelines advised,” said Keizer Beache, who is the government’s chief advisor on public health matters.
Keizer-Beache said that her ministry is “encouraging” all churches to avoid congregating but instead, use other methods such as radio or internet to broadcast services.
She said that congregants should be encouraged to stay at home and experience the services through the chosen broadcast means.
Keizer-Beache further said that the ministry also advises that Vincentians do not engage in goat cooks, river limes and other forms of socializing.
She said that in support of this effort, all sites operated and managed by the National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority will remain closed for the Easter Weekend — April 10 to 13.
“Reducing the spread of COVID-19 is a major challenge for all nations, including St. Vincent and the Grenadines. But we must fight this together,” she said.
On Thursday, the number of cases of COVID-19 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines increased by one-third, moving from 8 to 12.
Meanwhile, in a statement, also on Thursday, the police said that they were advising the public to “to continue to adhere to the various measures and protocols” that have been implemented by the government to protect its citizens and visitors and reduce the spread of the COVID-19.
The police said that over the Easter weekend and the ensuing weeks and/or months, they, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Environment (MOHE), the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and other partners “will sustain our efforts in ensuring that persons are responsibly complying with the national measures to fight COVID-19”.
The police said that this weekend, it would increase patrols to ensure that there is no playing of amplified music in public or private places.
Commissioner of Police Colin John had announced a few weeks ago that all permits to play amplified music in public or private places had been withdrawn.
The statement on Friday further said that police will, this weekend, ensure that there is no “mass gatherings of persons on beaches, churches or other social events viz a viz — river cooks, picnics, etc.”
The Ministry of Health had earlier advised that church services should be limited to 25 persons or a number one-third the capacity of the hall, seated in a way that allows three to six feet space between each person.
Also, this weekend, police say their patrol will ensure social and physical distancing are being practiced and will also ensure that motorists and commuters are adhering to the protocols with regard to the number of passengers riding in omnibuses.
Police will also ensure that there are “no boat rides and / or excursions” and that quarantined persons are at their designated places of confinement at all times.
In the statement, the police further reminded the public that Parliament, on Tuesday, passed the Public Health (Amendment) Act (2020) which imposes a fine of EC$2,000 or six months in prison for each time a person breaches a quarantine order.
“The Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force would like to thank the general public for their cooperation and support during this unprecedented period as we work hand in hand towards the sustenance of the safety and security of our blessed land,” the police said.