by Linda Straker
- Beaches open, but no social gatherings on beaches
- Social gatherings at entertainment venues and beaches expressly prohibited
- Religious institutions to follow SR0 No. 64 of 2020 gazetted in September
Vannie Curwen, Head of the Community Relations Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF), has explained that the latest regulations under the Emergency Power Act do not prohibit the use of beaches, but mandate no social gatherings on beaches.
“The beach is not closed; in fact as the regulations say we have freedom of movement between 5 am and 8 pm. What we ask of you, having gone to the beach is to maintain the distancing. If you are going to be in close proximity to people, and be out of the water, protect yourself by wearing a mask,” Curwen said in a news conference on Wednesday.
The purpose of the virtual news conference was to explain sections of the regulations under the Emergency Powers Act which came into effective as of Monday, 21 December after the Governor-General declared a State of Emergency. The regulations were gazetted on Monday afternoon in a special publication of the Gazette.
“So, the beach is open. but protect yourself by wearing your mask; and the public is free to enjoy themselves at the beach. The beaches are not closed,” said Curwen.
Some members of the public were expressing disgust via social media platforms claiming that beaches were closed because of the new Emergency Powers regulations. In a national address on Monday night, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell announced that social gatherings at entertainment venues and beaches are expressly prohibited.
The current regulations which will last for 14 days, do not provide for the hosting of events without the permission of the relevant authorities such as the police and the Covid-19 Committee. However, churches and other religious institutions can gather as outlined in the Public Health (Covid-19) Restriction on Religious Institutions Order, 2020 SR0 No. 64 of 2020 which was gazetted in September. Among other measures, the Public Health (Covid-19) Restriction on Religious Institutions Order mandates for religious leaders to calculate the number of attendees to be allowed in the building. “The measurement to be used is 18 square feet per person (using the seating space). Markers must be used on benches and chairs must be placed no less than 3 feet, in every direction. Families (individuals living in the same household) are exempted from physical distancing.”
Persons attending church service will also have to wear a face mask or appropriate face covering and sign a registry for contact tracing purposes. The regulations also mandate that for each service, appropriate facilities and adequate supplies not limited to, but including, hand washing facilities, clean running water, soap, paper towels, hand sanitiser and disinfectant. A sanitising station must be set up close to the door (hand sanitiser OR running water), for people entering.