BASSETERRE, St. Kitts -- PRESIDENT of the St. Kitts Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Giselle Matthew is welcoming the move by the government to remove the nightly curfew that was in place since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
In responding to an SKNVibes about the recent lifting of the curfew by the government, Matthew said it is a welcomed relief for the community at large, and most specifically for bars and those within the entertainment industry who have not been able to earn significantly as they would have previously.
Bars, restaurants and other night spots were mostly affected by the curfew as they were forced to close shops early. The early closures were done during what was often described as the peak time for bars and entertainment spots.
“That allows for those persons who want to have events once they comply, apply through the task force, get the necessary allowance to do so, it allows those events to now resume safely with all guidelines or protocols in place, and that industry to start to thrive again,” she told reporters following the Ministry of Tourism’s recent press conference.
She also explained that the new move now allows for restaurants to serve dinner beyond the COVID adjusted time.
“The kitchen closes a bit later because staff now have a bit more wiggle room in terms of timelines to get home. And so once the health authorities would have made that decision based on data...our vaccination rates and looking at our infection rate, that’s a decision they would have made feeling it was safe and ready to go,” added Matthew.
The CIC head warned against complacency as things can change over time thus forcing the task force to recommend the reinstatement of the restriction, urging the public to continue with the COVID-19 protocols to prevent the spread of the virus.
Matthew is mindful of the work being undertaken by the COVID-19 Task Force, even though the Chamber is still to have formal followup meetings with them. But she noted that the SKNCIC has met as a body and identified four areas that they would recommend changes to be made.
Stayover tourism and access to Part Zante were two of the areas that they have been focused on as the business community is still rebounding from the shocks of the pandemic.
“We have to be mindful that the task force has a huge task on their hands now that we are reopening tourism. And we at the Chamber are mindful that that comes with a huge responsibility. When we see something that is very critical, and we need to have communication, we usually reach out,” noted Matthew.
She admitted that the chamber and the health authorities will not agree on everything but they are working to strike the balance between the two to maintain health and safety within the country.