Press Release
July 14, 2020
Mixed messages on COVID-19 protocols creating confusion with

Mixed messages being sent by the police and health authorities about the protocols for mass gatherings are leading to confusion among operators of places of entertainment and their patrons.

A release from police dated July 13 said the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) has received information that “some operators/owners of places of entertainment, including bars, nightclubs and others – have failed to insist on their patrons to comply fully with the recommended protocols; especially with respect to contact tracing and wearing of face coverings.”

The release urged every “citizen to be responsible individuals by adhering to all of the recommended protocols to curb the spread of the COVID -19 virus.”

But while the release from the police chided the operators and owners of bars, nightclubs and other places of entertainment for not “insisting” that patrons provide contact information or wear masks, the ‘Recommendations for The Managed Conduct of Mass Gatherings With or Without Amplified Music’ published by the Health Services Sub Committee of the National Emergency Management Organization on the SVG Health Facebook page on July 12 say the wearing of facial coverings by patrons is “strongly recommended” and that event organizers “should” record the name and contact information of each person entering the event.

The protocols do not state that the wearing of facial coverings or the recording of contact information are mandatory.

The release from the police however says the wearing of facial coverings is mandatory.

“Contact tracing is a very vital tool in the arsenal to fight the spread of the COVID -19 virus. Consequently, all event organizers are strongly encouraged to record the names and contact numbers of each person entering the event.

This information must be securely stored by the organizer for a period of 28 days to aid the Ministry of Health Wellness and the Environment to trace persons who would have attended the event if necessary. Face coverings must also be worn at these events,” the release from the police said.

For operators and owners to “insist” on these protocols, they must be mandatory, one observer commented.