by Linda Straker
- Emergency Powers regulations still in effect
- 1 September regulations extended to 16 September 2020
- Schools scheduled to open in September and are expected to comply with regulations
The Emergency Powers regulations — which as of 7 July 2020 did not provide for a curfew period — continues to be in effect despite appearances to some, that the country has returned to pre-Covid-19 lifestyle and customs.
The regulations, on 1 September, were extended to 16 September 2020. Under advice from the Office of the Attorney General, the Cabinet has been approving a fortnightly extension to the regulations which became the island’s main guiding legislation after a State of Emergency was declared in March 2020 as part of measures to control and contain Covid-19.
The latest extension was published via a special gazette publication on 1 September 2020. These extensions will have to continue until the State of Emergency is revoked or expires. Members of Parliament in April approved for the State of the Emergency to continue for 6 months, and that initial 6 month expires in October.
The extended regulation provides for the free movement of citizens and clearly states that only the businesses that are approved to operate will be allowed to open, and all persons once in public, must practice the physical distancing protocol and wear a mask or a face covering.
Permission continues to be granted on the recommendation by the Covid Inspection Committee after an application for reopening or organising an event is approved.
“Every person shall, whenever he is outside of his place of residence– (a) wear a mask or suitable covering over his nose and mouth, and (b) at all times as far as practicable distance himself at least 6 feet from any other person,” states the regulation which outlines the only exemption from physical distancing and mask-wearing protocol are cases of medical emergencies.
With regards to social activities, section 9 of the regulations state that only groups of 20 are allowed for social events but groups of 50 are permitted for weddings and funerals. “No person shall host or attend– (a) any social activity of any description hosting more than twenty persons; or (b) a funeral hosting more than 50 persons in addition to the officiant and essential mortuary staff; or (c) a wedding hosting more than 50 persons in addition to the officiant, the bride and the groom.”
With regards to international travel, the regulations state that except with the prior written permission of the Airports Authority, all airports including private airports and fixed-base operations (FBOs) shall be closed to incoming international flights carrying any passenger. “All seaports shall be closed to regional and international seafaring and private boating; and no person shall be permitted to enter and disembark for any reason, including transiting through the State of Grenada, except with the permission of the Airports Authority and the Ministry of Health.”
Section 6 of the regulation focuses on physical distancing and sanitation protocol and it states that every establishment or business shall practice the physical distancing of 6 feet. “All customers and staff maintain physical distancing of no less than 6 feet in or outside their business.” The regulations explain that management of the business place shall determine the number of persons that may be permitted in the establishment at any one time by permitting one person for every 30 square feet of store space.
Business places shall place distance markers 6 feet apart, indicating where each customer must stand on a line at a checkout point as well as place distance markers 6 feet apart on the outside of the establishment, indicating where customers must stand while waiting to enter the establishment.
“Every establishment or business, including operators of motor omnibuses, hiring cars and taxis, shall administer or facilitate sanitisation of the hands of every person upon entry into the establishment or business.” The regulation mandates that employees of a hospital or health care, medical, residential care establishment or facility and members of the Royal Grenada Police Force shall take reasonable steps to comply with the requirements unless it is reasonably impracticable.
Schools are scheduled to open in September and are expected to comply with all the regulations.