— but no ‘ease up’ on social activities, curfew
LIMITED indoor dining will be allowed at bars from February 1, though there has been no ‘ease up’ in a number of other social activities nor the national curfew, according to the gazetted COVID-19 orders which will take effect from February 1 and last until February 28, 2021.
On Friday, the Guyana Chronicle was able to see a copy of the COVID-19 Emergency Measures (no. 14) which will take effect from Monday. Detailed in these orders were the restrictions to social activities, where it was stated that no person shall host, attend or visit: a cinema, except for a drive-thru cinema; a private party; a banquet, ball or reception, a public or hotel swimming pool or waterpark; a wake or vigil; a club or discotheque; a meeting of a fraternal society, private or social club or civic association or organisation or any other social activity.
Notably, however, bars and rumshops were not on this list of restrictions. In previous gazetted COVID-19 orders, attending or visiting these establishments were strictly prohibited.
Paragraph (6) Section (3)(c), however, noted: “Indoor and outdoor dining at a restaurant and bar shall only be permitted between the hours of 04:00 am to 9:30 pm.” It was further noted that indoor dining at a restaurant and bar is restricted to 40 percent capacity of the building, tables must be spaced six feet apart and no more than four persons are to be seated at one table, and each person must be three feet apart.
“Staff at restaurants and bars shall wear a face mask fitted to cover the nose, mouth and chin at all times; shall sanitise dining tables, chairs and bar countertops after use by each customer,” the new gazetted orders said.
Over the past few weeks, the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) ‘shut down’ a number of local restaurants for breaching the COVID-19 guidelines by offering indoor dining, which was previously prohibited. Bars, rumshops and such entertainment spots that were open were also shut down since the measures have stated that these establishments should not be opened. These establishments were warned prior to their being shut down.
From February, however, these establishments will be permitted to operate in a limited capacity. The Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) will be responsible for monitoring all restaurants and bars to ensure implementation of the measures necessary to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
This newspaper understands that restaurants and bars will have to ensure that their premises are modified to allow for ‘social-distanced’ indoor dining and then apply to the GTA for certification. Following an inspection of the premises from the local tourism authority, only then will the restaurants receive permission to offer indoor dining.
The GTA will also be responsible for monitoring these establishments to ensure that they do not breach any of the COVID-19 measures. Meanwhile, the national curfew will still be in effect from 10:30 pm to 04:00 am.