Health officials in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have given carnival planners the go-ahead to plan a full-scale Vincy Mas this year, the first since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in 2020.
However, the Carnival Development Corporation says that it could be forced to revert to a vaccinated-only festival, and a scaled down festival, depending on the post-Easter situation in the country.
The infection rate in SVG has remained low for weeks, with an average daily total of two active COVID-19 cases.
Minister of Culture Carlos James, told a press conference this past week that Vincy Mas will be held at its home at the Victoria Park, should the COVID-19 situation remain as it now is.
Initially, the events of Carnival Monday and Tuesday were slated to take place at the tarmac at the decommissioned E.T. Joshua Airport.
James said that with the low infection rate, Vincy Mas events will be opened to the general public.
He said that the CDC has commenced promotion, during which it will encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and to practice the health protocols, including wearing a face mask and physical distancing.
“I want to state clearly that this decision is based on the positivity rate at the particular time. For instance, if you move to a positivity rate during or close to the carnival period of let’s say… 5% and above, we will, naturally, revert back to the original planned, controlled events, in a controlled environment where protocols will trump,” James said.
He continued: “Of course, most of those activities will be vaccinated events.
“And I cannot continue to emphasise the need for us to all protect ourselves by adhering to the necessary health protocols, getting vaccinated, but, importantly, reducing the transmission, or possible transmission of the COVID-19 virus during the period of activities which are likely to take place over the Easter weekend, and also during the carnival period.”
James said he mentioned Easter because activities similar to Carnival — including Bequia Easter Regatta and Union Island Easterval — are planned for that weekend.
“What transpires post-Easter would really determine the direction [in which] we go, as it relates to our premier festival Vincy Mas. So, we continue to emphasise and continue to encourage persons to adhere to the protocols, get vaccinated, protect yourself, reduce transmission rates,” James said.