St Lucia closing non-essential commercial services for 2 weeks
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet gave an update on the coronavirus (COVID-19) this afternoon, Friday, March 20, 2020.
The prime minister said that from Monday, March 23 through Sunday, April 5, 2020, the government will put into place a "heightened protocol on social distancing regimes" in which all non-essential commercial services will be closed to reduce public interaction.
Depending on the success of the two-week effort, government would then make the decision to either extend it or pull back from it.
Essential commercial entities that remain open will be expected to adhere to new social behaviors that achieve the distancing effect needed to limit the spread of the virus.
The prime minister used the example of banks. The changes will include limited hours of operation; a limit on the number of people allowed in the bank at any one time, 20 for large branches, 10 for small branches; a dedicated hour exclusively for the elderly; a special line for frontline essential services staff; tellers limited on a rotation basis and encouraging customers to bank online as much as possible.
Essential services that will remain open include:
- Emergency Services: Fire, Police as well as private security services.
- Border Control: Saint Lucia will strengthen, tighten and escalate port health protocols as part of its heightened protocols.
- Utilities (Wasco, Lucelec, telecoms),
- Sanitation collection and disposal,
- Supermarkets/minimarts/shops, bakeries, & pharmacies,
- Petrol/Gas stations,
- Air and Seaports operations (to facilitate cargo handling and US flights if they are still flying, to allow for return of nationals returning home)
- Limited public transportation services,
- Limited banking services,
- Trucking services related to movement and delivery of essential supplies and the food chain.
- Restaurants and Fast Food services, only those who do take away/take out, delivery or drive through capabilities will be allowed to open
- News and Broadcast Services
- Manufacturing activities related to production of food, water and products of personal hygiene
- Providers of Cleaning Services
Those operations and business that can continue delivery of services under a working-from-home environment are encouraged to do so. Businesses which cannot operate with work-from-home will shut down for the stipulated time period.
Chastanet made it clear to the nation that the situation was very serious and that we can expect that it will be at least 6 months until the economy may be back to normal.