PM Skerrit wears mask in House of Assembly
PM Skerrit wears mask in House of Assembly

On Monday, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit announced that his Government will be tolerating "no-nonsense" as the country has been put on a one-week curfew.

Effective August 3, 2021, the country's positive COVID-19 cases stand at 12, with an additional 14 positive antigen tests awaiting results of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

Because of the increase of the COVID-19 cases, which Prime Minister Skerrit said is different from the previous cases that Dominica has recorded as those infected are showing symptoms and appears to be highly contagious, his government has approved a curfew order to take effect from 6 pm to 5 p.m. daily from Tuesday, August 3, 2021, for the next seven days in the first instance.

On the weekend, the curfew will begin at 5 pm on Saturday, August 7, 2021, and will continue throughout the day on Sunday, August 8, 2021, and end on Monday, August 9, 2021, at 5 am. The curfew will then resume the night of Monday, August 9 2021 at 6 pm.

PM Skerrit added that all non-essential businesses are to remain closed. Essential workers include port workers, health care workers, banks and credit unions, hardware stores, telecoms and broadcasting, pharmacies, farmers, security services, utilities- the list will be published.

These measures will not include workers and people who are traveling in and out of the country seeking medical care, shopping for necessity, banking, but by appointment only, caring for family members, pet or livestock; persons involved in construction, farming, and manufacturing, all of whom will be allowed to continue their activities.

The hours of operations for businesses that are allowed to open are from 6 am to 4 pm and all businesses must ensure physical distancing measures of six feet apart are maintained and should control the number of customers inside of the premises to ensure no more than four customers per aisle.

The Prime Minister also ordered the closure of all bars and nightclubs and pointed out that restaurants are no longer permitted to do in or outdoor dining, but take-outs only will be allowed.

Citizens are also prohibited from consuming alcohol in public while churches and other places of worship are to remain closed.

Weddings are to be limited to five individuals while funerals are to be no more than 10 individuals.

Cabinet has also approved the ban of private parties, recreational or sporting events, social events, meetings of fraternal societies or clubs, group tours and loud music.

In light of public transportation, a restriction has been placed to three individuals per row.

Skerrit further added that there will be no visitation to the hospital, prison, quarantine facility or any home providing care to the elderly and children; however, the airports and seaports will remain open.

While alluding to the fact that masks are mandatory by law, he stressed that the police will be authorized to give a ticket to anyone seen not wearing a mask in public.

As to the penalties for non-adherence to these new orders, the Prime Minister said it has been increased to EC$5,000.

"These measures are not intended to scare the population but to ensure that we act quickly to avoid the deterioration of the situation," he said.

The Prime Minister went on to appeal to people who have been in contact with the individuals who have tested positive for the virus or individuals who have attended recent events -namely a public gathering at The Lot in Potterville - to come forward and get tested.

He further urged citizens to remain vigilant and adhere to the COVID-19 protocols and get tested to safeguard themselves and their families.