Guyana orders: Only the vaccinated may enter public buildings

Covid19 vaccine ready for an arm. AP PHOTO -
Covid19 vaccine ready for an arm. AP PHOTO -

As covid19 cases continue to increase, the Guyanese government has mandated that anyone wishing to enter a public building must be vaccinated.

It is the first Caricom country to implement such a measure.

This is just one of the measures announced in its official gazette on September 4, which are slated to last until September 30.

Under section 17 of the announcement, a public building means any building to which the public has lawful access and includes both publicly and privately owned buildings, including all institutions of learning.

It said an unvaccinated person who wants to enter a public building must make an appointment and present a negative PCR test result from within seven days of the day they want to enter the building. Only tests from a Ministry of Health-approved lab will be accepted.

This also extends to unvaccinated employees who work in public buildings.

The measures also imposed a 10,30 pm-4 am curfew on Guyana, during which time everyone must remain in the confines of their home and its yard space.

Restrictions on gatherings and certain types of activities were also listed. Attendance at religious services and gatherings was restricted to 40 per cent capacity. Indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants and bars is restricted to 60 per cent capacity, with tables six feet apart, and no more than six patrons seated at one table, at least three feet apart.

Casinos and betting shops can operate at 40 per cent capacity, cinemas at 60 per cent capacity, and gyms at 50 per cent capacity.

In all cases, the operators of these businesses are responsible for ensuring only vaccinated people are in their business places. If they do not comply, the business can be suspended for up to 30 days.

The Guyanese opposition has described the move as authoritarian.

Republic Bank and Massy Motors in Guyana have told their customers they will also adopt the measures.

The move is of interest as TT’s Prime Minister announced the possible opening of safe zones, including restaurants, cinemas, casinos, gyms, and bars, at the end of September.

TT Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Gabriel Faria said the Chamber had discussed the safe-zone concept and supported any initiatives to be implemented to keep the unvaccinated safe.

“We don’t know what TT is planning to do, but we’re seeing what places like Guyana, Canada, France, Germany, and many states in the US have done.

"We believe all these initiatives are focused on protecting the unvaccinated and not putting them in high-risk environments. As you have more people vaccinated, the risk of the vaccinated who can get covid19 and have very little symptoms passing that on to unvaccinated becomes very high.

"So it’s really important that we create, as the Prime Minister has said, without having more details, safe zones which will allow the vaccinated to pursue more high-risk activities, like going into non-essential areas, going into a shop, to the beach, to the movies, etc.

“We support what these countries have done and we look forward to getting more details of what the TT government is planning to implement, but we are assuming it will be along the lines of what we are seeing develop in other parts of the world.”

Dr Rowley, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, and Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh could not be reached for comment.

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