St. Vincent and the Grenadines is predominantly a Christian society. The upcoming Easter weekend therefore is a very important time for our Christian brothers and sisters. It is also a time of major socializing activities including boat rides, picnics and parties, as well as other forms of mass gatherings. The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment recognizes the vital importance of spiritual and psychological health and wellbeing to overall wellness.
However, in keeping with the Ministry’s Physical (Social) Distancing and Mass Gathering Advisory issued on March 22, 2020, and recommended hygiene practices, the HEOC/COVID-19 Task Force issues the following recommendations for the Easter weekend beginning Friday, April 10, 2020 to Monday, April 13, 2020.
1. Church Services – Good Friday and Easter Sunday:
a. Consider not having any physical gatherings, rather:
i. Consider a National Day of Prayer on Good Friday lead by Religious Leaders broadcasting from various media houses.
ii. Consider broadcasting by radio and on social media platforms a National Ecumenical Easter Sunday Service conducted by a limited number of representative Ministers and Pastors, from a single place of worship capable of safely accommodating these officials.
b. If physical gatherings must continue, then there must be strict enforcement of physical distancing in places of worship to ensure that persons are at least 3 feet apart from each other.
2. Social Gatherings:
a. Follow the “STAY SAFE! STAY AT HOME!” practice:
i. There should be no:
1. Boat rides
3. Goat cooks
4. Beach outings
5. River outings
7. Any other social gatherings whether private or public.
ii. Van Drivers are asked to protect themselves and their families by supporting this “STAY SAFE! STAY AT HOME!” guidance by staying off the roads for this period.
3. Hygiene Precautions:
a. If traveling in public vehicles and standing in crowded places, the correct use of cloth masks (with a pouch to hold a surgical mask or flannel piece to provide additional protection) by the public is an acknowledged option. The correct and safe use of masks requires that the front of the mask is not touched, and they are washed regularly. (Please visit SVG HEALTH for further information on the correct use.)
b. If caring for someone at home, use a surgical mask.
c. Hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers are encouraged.
These recommendations for limiting non-essential contact are guided by scientific evidence and will go a long way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. St Vincent and the Grenadines now has seven (7) confirmed cases of COVID-19 on record. The support and corporation of all citizens are needed at this time, if we are to minimize any further spread of COVID-19.