Antigua: Only fully vaccinated patrons to be allowed in restaurants, bars

St John’s – From August 1, only fully vaccinated people will be allowed to patronise restaurants, bars and other places of entertainment, Minister of Information Melford Nicholas announced on Thursday.

Speaking after the Cabinet meeting earlier in the day, he also confirmed that all frontline government workers are now required to either get the COVID-19 vaccine or be tested for the virus every 14 days at their own expense.

Nicholas said the measures were vital to contain the spread of the virus.

He explained that all patrons visiting restaurants, bars and places of entertainment will be required to be fully vaccinated and present proof upon entry.

“Bar owners are going to be required to ensure that their patrons are fully vaccinated in order to facilitate their entry. What this means is that as a prerequire, the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Technology will provide each of the fully vaccinated persons with a new vaccination card that is portable, that will be laminated, that will have some unique identifiers in it that will allow them to present them when required for entry into entertainment establishments. They will presumably have to present those cards along with a photo ID as a prerequisite to enter,” he explained.

Nicholas warned that bar and restaurant owners and event organisers who permit unvaccinated patrons to enter will face “stiff financial penalties and the option as well of being shut down for definitive periods”.

He said the August 1 start of the new policy would give the authorities enough time to produce and distribute the vaccination cards.

Regarding mandatory vaccination or testing for civil servants, Medford said unvaccinated civil servants who refuse to get tested will have to remain off the job without pay.

The workers this policy applies to include: Immigration and Customs workers, Port Health workers including the greeters and the nurses and doctors, the EMS workers, the police and the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force personnel, vendors and businesses that provide services to the cruise passengers in Heritage and Redcliffe Quays, tour operators and taxi drivers and others who are employed by the public sector who are compelled to have contact with those arriving at ports.

Meantime, Nicholas disclosed that 67 percent of hotel workers have so far been inoculated and it is expected that number will reach 70 percent in another week. (CMC)

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