by Linda Straker
- Dozens of vehicles were seen parked close to Coconut Beach Restaurant
- Restaurant hosted an event attended by over 100 people
- Citizens’ refusal to be tested after possible exposure, vaccine hesitancy and lack of complacency with mask-wearing, creating perfect mix for Covid outbreak
On Thursday, 6 May 2021, the police shut down an event that was attended by over 100 people at Coconut Beach Restaurant at Grand Anse Beach. The following day, a letter was delivered from the Covid-19 health committee stating the continued shut down of the restaurant operations.
Grenada is currently under a State of Emergency because of the Covid-19 public health pandemic and as a result the Emergency Powers Act is activated and enforced.
The Emergency Powers Act Regulations currently in effect state that “No person shall host or attend any event or gathering of any description” apart from weddings and funerals. The quota allowed for these events is 20 people, but special permission can be sought from the Covid-19 Committee for larger events. Based on the size of the venue, the Committee may adjust the number of people who can safely attend the event.
A member of the restaurant management said admitted that there was some breaching of the Covid-19 Protocols as described in the letter from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at the Ministry of Health.
The Public Health Act gives the CMO the authority to take action on any establishment or individual hosting an event that is in violation of the regulation.
“Physical distancing and sanitation protocols for businesses” is Section 5 of the Public Health Regulations which state that “Every business, establishment or office shall:
- ensure that all customers and staff maintain physical distancing of no less than 6 feet in or outside their business, establishment or office;
- determine the number of persons that may be permitted in the business, establishment or office at any one time by permitting 1 person for every 30 square feet of store space;
- place prominent distance markers 6 feet apart, indicating where each customer must stand on a line at a checkout point; and
- place distance markers 6 feet apart on the outside of the business, establishment or office, indicating where customers must stand while waiting to enter the business, establishment or office.
“There was a little bit more people than we are allowed… actually, now we have our lawyer involved and so I don’t want to say much” said the management team member who prefers not to be identified.
The letter did not say the length of time the restaurant will be shut down, but it’s understood that the reopening decision will depend on the outcome of the discussion with health officials as well as the remedial training of staff to educate them about the Covid-19 protocols.
The property is located less than 100 metres from the Grand Anse main road. It is believed that police moved onto the area after dozens of vehicles were seen parked on the side of the road close to The Coconut Beach Restaurant, which had a chicken wings special on Thursday night.
However, a person who was at the event said that the large gathering was due to a birthday celebration. Another person who was present said that contact tracing information was required upon entry at the restaurant.
The action from the Covid-19 Committee comes days after CMO Dr Shawn Charles said that citizens’ ongoing behaviour of refusing to be tested after possible exposure, vaccine hesitancy, and lack of complacency with mask-wearing, is creating the perfect mix for an outbreak of Covid.
Grenada presently has 1 active case of the virus. That person was caught at the border upon entry and is currently in isolation.