Bars and Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen following over a month of closure due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the Territory.
"Cabinet decided to allow all business to re-open, inclusive of bars and nightclubs, provided that those businesses pass inspection by the Social Distancing Monitoring Protocols and are certified by the Environmental Health Division in order to operate their businesses," announced Health Minister, Hon. Carvin Malone today, October 7.
The Minister stated that bars and nightclubs owners are currently in conversations with the Department and a date and time for inspections would be agreed.
According to Hon. Malone, all 43 members of the Social Distancing Monitoring Task Force operating within the Environmental Health Division have now been trained, equipped, commissioned and deployed to perform the very important duties of educating, monitoring and enforcement of the public health measures alongside the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.
"Simple but; effective protective measures such as physical distancing, hand washing, sanitisation, and wearing of face coverings while in public places apply to individuals, businesses and other establishments, and there are legal penalties in place to promote full compliance," the Health Minister stated.
Bars have been closed since it was announced on August 21 that there was a cluster of cases in the Territory. At the time, it was pointed out that the cases were linked to heavily patronised nightspots and festive events that took place earlier the August.
Last week, At-Large Representative, Hon. Neville ‘Sheep’ Smith, said he was pushing for Government to revisit the decision to close the entertainment spots.
Hon. Smith said that he had a recent meeting with the owners of the establishments and they complained about being targeted. The Government member said the owners did not only complain but also offered solutions that could lead to them be reopened.
They also formed an association to lead this process. Hon. Shereen Flax-Charles was also part of the meeting with the owners.