Funeral services in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are to be held not later than 11 a.m. to ensure the completion of burial before 3 p.m.
To support this, cemeteries to be closed at 3 p.m., the Office of the Prime Minister said, on Thursday, as it reported on a meeting between Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and a representative grouping of the Coalition of Churches last week Friday.
The group comprised Pastor Stephen Ollivierre, Bishop Wendell Davis, Reverend Adolf Davis and Pastor Reynold Murray.
The meeting was convened to discuss a number of issues relating to the COVID-19 protocols for mass gatherings and their implications for religious worship and other church activities, a press statement said.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Simone Keizer-Beache and Cabinet Secretary, Kattian Barnwell-Scott also attended the virtual meeting.
“During the very fruitful discussions, several concerns were articulated and a number of suggestions and recommendations were proposed,” the statement said.
The decision regarding funerals and burials are among proposals that are either being actively pursued or are under consideration as a result of the meeting.
The other proposals are that church leaders are to notify the police in their districts of funerals that are scheduled to facilitate the management of such gatherings particularly with regards to the procession.
Funeral homes are also requested to refrain from playing live or amplified during funeral processions.
The meeting agreed to a review of the current COVID-19 mass gathering protocols as they apply to churches to be undertaken within the next three weeks.
“In addition, the members of the committee have agreed to meet with other members of the Christian community, particularly the leaders of churches who appear uncooperative or non-cooperative with the existing protocols, to encourage support for the measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” the statement said.
“The meeting concluded with the church leaders agreeing to consider taking the vaccine in support of the vaccination drive by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment. A meeting is to be held between the chief medical officer and the church leaders soonest on this matter.”