by Curlan Campbell
- Safety protocols must be in place before Grenada can accept commercial flights
- National Advisory Committee established to take over from Covid Subcommittee
- As of Tuesday, 30 June 2020, curfew will be extended from 9 pm to 11 pm
As Grenada seeks to reopen its borders, government proposes safety protocols must be in place before Grenada can accept commercial flights, due to concerns about the importation risk of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
During his address to the nation on Sunday, Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell stated that work is being done to finalise protocols before commercial flights are accepted, to ensure that Grenada maintains its Covid-free status. Dr Mitchell said that “Caribbean countries may not have reached consensus on when to reopen our borders, but given the importance of tourism, this is generally regarded as one of the critical milestones in the effort to restart economies. The timing, however, must be right, and public health remains of paramount importance.”
To ensure public safety, the government has decided to only accept chartered flights since these offer greater levels of due diligence in line with established protocols for testing before departure, and on arrival, unlike commercial flights where these requirements are not mandatory.
A National Advisory Committee has been established to lead the next phase in the fight against Covid-19, taking the place of the Covid Subcommittee, headed by the Minister of Health.
“The Covid Subcommittee is expected to wrap up its work at the end of July. Thereafter, government’s decision-making on matters such as protocols, regulations, quarantine and testing, will be guided by a National Advisory Committee. This committee will draw upon the expertise of some of the same persons who have been involved thus far, but our approach will be different. The details will be announced later when we have finalised the composition of this new advisory body and the terms of its engagement,” Dr Mitchell said.
The prime minister said despite a reduction in government’s revenue by 50%, assistance to the most vulnerable continues as government evaluates categories of people and organisations to benefit from relief assistance, including hairdressers, barbers and market vendors. “Requests have also been submitted by employees of LIAT and several other places, who have received little or no income and who are facing the imminent threat of unemployment. Additionally, as the duration of the pandemic increases, [the] government is now considering extending the period of support granted to hotel workers for a further 3 months. Another 2,000 Grenadians have also started receiving their unemployment assistance benefit from the National Insurance Scheme.”
Regarding Grenada’s recovery process, Dr Mitchell mentioned the resumption of work within the construction sector. He said, “Since the resumption of work in that sector in May, more than 4,000 Grenadians have either resumed work or have been hired to work on various projects across the country. To date, the Ministry of Infrastructure Development has received 544 applications for approval to resume or start work on private projects. Additionally, there are several major public sector projects in various stages of preparation for the commencement of work. These include several feeder and other roads, as well as other major infrastructural development.”
As of Tuesday, 30 June 2020, the curfew will be extended from 9 pm to 11 pm, and according to Dr Mitchell, this extension should encourage more economic activity.
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