Socialising during Covid could cause spike in infections

– guidelines in place for outdoor dining

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony is again cautioning the public against putting their safety at risk by socialising during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister said despite the festive season, the world is still enduring a pandemic and all precautionary measures must still be observed. Dr. Anthony said failing to obey the guidelines could lead to dire consequences.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony

“We’re still in a pandemic and nothing has changed. Therefore, we have to abide by these guidelines because if we don’t, we are going to see spikes in COVID-19 cases as we go late into this month and early into the New Year. We can avoid this if we follow these COVID-19 guidelines.”

The Minister made this statement during Wednesday’s COVID-19 update.

“Our guidelines are very clear, bars are not to be opened, that’s written into guidelines, we haven’t changed that, and indoor restaurants are not allowed. What we are allowing is if you want to get some food, you can order, they can cook it for you, you go, you pick up, and you go your way.”

Minister Anthony said outdoor dining is permitted, but with specific conditions.

“If you want to have outdoor dining, there are some regulations that allow for outdoor dining. We want businesses to be responsible and that’s why we have allowed for this. We don’t want to close people down entirely but at least, if we are allowing these types of activities, then, please conduct them in the right way because you’re endangering people and you’re putting yourself at risk. We just want people to abide and do the right thing so that we all can remain safe.

The December COVID-19 Emergency Measures (No. 12) stipulate that food services and restaurants shall be opened only for delivery, drive-through, curb-side pick up and take away services from 4:00am to 9:30pm.  

Indoor dining and buffet are prohibited.

For outdoor dining at a restaurant, the guidelines state that it is only permitted between the hours of 4:00am and 9:30pm and where tables are spaced six feet apart from each other and no more than four persons are seated at one table and they are at least three feet apart. 

The gazetted guidelines also state that if any person, organiser or operator fails to comply with the Notice or any guidelines issued by the Health Ministry, the Minister of Health is authorised to close those operations or prohibit events.