by Linda Straker
- State of Emergency declared on Monday, 21 December
- Third State of Emergency proclamation
- Gazetted as Statutory Rules and Order 72 and 73
Governor-General, Dame Cécile La Grenade declared a State of Emergency in Grenada on Monday, 21 December 2020. This allowed for the Cabinet to impose a curfew and other regulations under the Emergency Powers Act.
However, if the rate of infections is not reduced in the next 2 weeks, a full lockdown will be enforced. “The decisions and recommendations of Government must be complemented by public cooperation and compliance. We are making a concerted effort to avoid implementing tougher restrictions on the population currently,” Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell said in a national address on Monday night. “Therefore, I urge all citizens to recognise your individual responsibility to protect yourselves and your loved ones.”
The Prime Minister informed citizens that the grim reality is that if a significant difference is not observed within the next week or two, with respect to the rate of infections, Government could be forced to resort to a 24-hour lockdown.
This is the third State of Emergency proclamation, and it was published as prescribed by law in a special publication of the Government Gazette as Statutory Rules and Order 72. Simultaneously, the regulations under the Emergency Powers Act were also published in the same gazette as Statutory Rules and Order number 73.
The State of Emergency proclamation says that following the identification of the cluster of 26 actions must be taken because this public health crisis threatens public safety, public order and the maintenance of medical and other services and supplies essential to the life of the people in Grenada.
The proclamation said that the risk of transmission of Covid-19 may be substantially reduced by separating and restricting the movement of persons known or suspected to have contracted the disease and it is necessary to take preventive and proactive measures to slow the spread of the virus and treat those affected.
Elaborating, the proclamation reads, “that having regards to the number of people who have received laboratory-confirmed positive test for the Covid-19 virus between the 12th day of December 2020 and 21st day of December 2020 in Grenada and the real likelihood that people who are positive with the Covid-19 virus and have unknowingly been exposed to the Covid-19 virus and are now carriers of the Covid-19 virus in the normal course of their daily activities may continue to move around aggravating the public health crisis and threatening public safety, public order, and the maintenance of medical and other supplies and services essential to life in Grenada and that to prevent, mitigate or curtail the potential spread of the Covid-19 virus in Grenada it is necessary to declare that a state of emergency exists in Grenada.”
Prime Minister Mitchell said that since identifying the cluster of 26 at the all-inclusive Sandals Resort, health officials had undertaken vigorous contact tracing efforts. It has been determined that hundreds are exposed to the virus.
“The size of this cluster and the upward spiral recorded in recent days, are quite concerning, but what is even more troubling, is the likelihood of even more exposure of our citizens as you socialise during this festive season. The true extent of the crisis we face may still be unknown,” he said before reminding citizens that a curfew which restricts citizens movement began at 8 pm.
“Health officials have explained that based on the estimated window of exposure, many persons are possibly in the incubation stages of any potential infection and therefore, we must await their testing on the scientifically appropriate day, to better determine the magnitude of the cluster,” he said.
“The nightly curfew will be lifted at 5 am daily. It will remain in effect for 14 days in the first instance, and I encourage your full compliance. The curfew is intended to minimise the number of social gatherings that generally take place during the Christmas season.” Dr Mitchell also serves as the Minister for National Security.
“We have refrained from imposing a full lockdown in recognition of the religious beliefs at the heart of the season. As a Christian society and in acknowledgement of the fact that churches have consistently adopted the recommended protocols, we thought it important to allow our citizens the opportunity to participate in religious traditions.” The Prime Minister called on religious leaders to be strict in implementing the Covid-19 protocols at churches.
Besides the curfew, other measures under the regulations mandate that restaurants shall only offer take-out or delivery service; village shops, including those licenced to sell liquor, must limit to 3, the maximum number of customers served on the premises at any given time; a mask must be always worn over the nose and mouth in public spaces and recommended physical distance of 6 feet should be observed.
The number of guests at weddings and funerals is limited to 10 unless permission is sought and obtained from the Ministry of Health. Social gatherings at entertainment venues and beaches are expressly prohibited. Families are advised to create a household bubble, limiting their Christmas Day activities to individual households, while opting to share virtually with other extended family members and friends.