ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, CMC – The Grenada government has imposed a seven-day 24-hour curfew beginning on Monday night as it warned that persons were ignoring earlier measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Every time you break or ignore guidelines to quarantine when you have been exposed, you are potentially taking the life of one of our citizens. Maybe you are prepared to take the gamble, but unfortunately, it’s not only to your detriment. You are endangering the lives of each of us,” Health Minister Nicholas Steele said in a radio and television broadcast on Sunday night.
Steele said that Grenada’s security was being compromised in a way that it has never been before by COVID-19, the coronavirus that is blamed for more than 18,000 deaths worldwide.
He said the curfew would remain in effect until April 6 and that “during this period, every person shall remain confined to their place of residence, inclusive of their yard space, to avoid contact outside of their household, except as provided in the regulations or as may be authorised in writing by the Commissioner of Police.
“Lives are at stake. Your life is at stake. Your grandmother’s life is at stake. Your father’s life is under threat. My life and that of my family are under threat, and so is my neighbour’s. Whole families stand to be wiped out. From the halls of the palace to the seat of prime ministers, to the village slums, COVID-19 has shown that it respects no one,” Steele said.
Grenada has so far recorded nine cases of the virus and Steele told the nation that several people have not been complying with the regulations which were designed to convey the seriousness of the threat posed by the virus.
Police have so far arrested several people violating different sections of the regulations which on summary conviction is liable to a fine of EC$1,000 and to imprisonment for 12 months.
Steele said that the government is not in the business of gambling with the lives of Grenadians, adding “everything else pales in comparison to the health and well-being of a nation. This is not about economics. It is about saving lives. It is about public health, public safety and public order.”
Under the new regulations, the government has banned visits to the beach, the closure of all businesses as well as shops to remain open only from 8: 00 a.m. to noon on specific days and that people will only be allowed to purchase groceries in their own parish.
In addition, private cars could only carry one passenger and no hired vehicles will be used to transport groceries and that no more than one person per seat in vehicles carrying employees.
There will also be no sale of alcohol and any shop owner contravening the law will have their businesses shut down.
The government said that hotels will remain open and staff members will remain on the compound at the hotelier’s expense.
“The crowded buses will be parked up. Everything that puts our lives and livelihood at risk ends. Fellow citizens, as a result of the inability of some of you to follow the guidelines designed to keep you safe, the Government is now revisiting the measures from last week, with a view to escalating them,” Steele warned.
“This will give our medical authorities the necessary mechanisms to contain the very real possibility of a community spread of this COVID-19 virus. It will also ensure that there is proper maintenance of supplies and services,” he said.