(Source: St Lucia Times) – A shutdown of Saint Lucia’s non-essential commercial services is being proposed, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet announced Friday.
“What we are proposing is to close down all non-essential commercial services and in doing that, we believe that the government will be able to reduce the amount of public interaction and the intensity of our economy at this point,” Chastanet told a news conference.
“The programme will begin on Monday, March 23 until Sunday, April 5 in the first instance and certainly depending on the success of that programme and what’s taking place and through the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and the collaboration of government, we will determine whether in fact, we believe that should be extended and whether we can pull back,” the PM stated.
He stated that the commercial entities that will remain open are going to be expected to put in new social behaviours.
Chastanet recalled, as an example, that the banks have spoken of limiting their hours, having a dedicated hour for elderly individuals, a special line for front line essential services staff and rotation to limit the number of tellers, plus encouraging online transactions in order to limit interaction.
He said the banks are also going to limit the number of individuals in the lending institutions at any one time.
Chastanet said government agencies will be looking at protocols to diminish the number of people on call in any office at any one time.
In terms of essential services, the PM announced that the utilities – LUCELEC, WASCO and the telecommunications companies, will remain open but with a revised protocol.
He said sanitation collection and disposal, the supermarkets and pharmacies, mini-marts, bakeries and petrol stations as well as the air and seaports will be open.
“A very limited number of US flights will potentially still be flying,” the former Tourism Minister revealed.
He announced that bus services would continue on a limited basis, while there would be limited banking and trucking services related to goods.
Chastanet told the news conference that ‘scaled-down’ Customs services will also be operational.
“Emergency services, fire, police as well as the private security services will remain operational,” the PM said.
“In terms of border control, again there will be a continual tightening of any humans or passengers coming into Saint Lucia,” Chastanet announced.