My Fellow Citizens and Residents:I am pleased to address you following my Team Unity Government’s impressive victory at the polls on Friday, June 5th, 2020 and to thank you for your confidence in choosing Team Unity to pilot the ship of state for another five years. Of course, we are still faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, and our all-of-society response to COVID-19 must therefore continue if we are to manage this global health crisis effectively.
Tomorrow, new Regulations come into force in our continuing fight against COVID-19. The current Regulations No. 19 under the Emergency Powers Act come to an end on Saturday, 13th June. Furthermore, Regulations for the next two weeks, from Saturday, 13th June to Saturday, 27th June, will be published under SR&O No. 25 of 2020.
We continue to make good progress in the fight against the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), and I thank each and every citizen and resident for adhering to the health and safety measures and protocols that have been implemented to protect the health of all of us. We especially thank our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hazel Laws; our Medical Chief of Staff at the JNF General Hospital, Dr. Cameron Wilkinson; the entire medical fraternity; Mr. Abdias Samuel, Chair of our NEOC; our security forces; essential workers, and all who have committed themselves on the frontline to make sure that we stay healthy and safe.
FUTHER EASING OF RESTRICTIONS
Acting on the advice of our medical practitioners and the COVID-19 National Task Force, the new Regulations that come into effect tomorrow will continue the further relaxation of restrictions and cautiously open up our Federation, so that citizens and residents can guardedly return to some semblance of normalcy with respect to their economic and social lives.
So from Saturday, 13th to Saturday, 27th June, the curfew will commence at 12:00 midnight and end at 5:00am daily.
Our churches are critically important to our quality of life and spiritual wellbeing. The relaxation of the curfew hours commencing at midnight will also facilitate nightly religious services with the same protocols already agreed for daytime services.
At this time our Country needs more prayer not less, and I am happy that we can advance the spiritual growth and corporate fellowship that mean so much to me personally and to our people in general.
Additionally, for the purpose of exercise, beaches will now be opened from 5:00am to 6:00pm daily.
Furthermore, the suspension of the retail liquor licence has been removed and bars can be opened from Saturday. Moreover, physical distancing measures must be observed.
Restaurants may be opened for in-dining, while complying with physical distancing measures. The table allocations should be between two (2) and four (4) persons and spacing between tables should allow a minimum of six (6) feet between patrons. Also, all restaurants must establish the appropriate sanitization programme for employees and patrons. Patrons are required to wear masks on arrival, except when eating and drinking.
BORDERS REMAIN CLOSED
Our borders remain closed to international commercial flights and visitors so as to prevent and/or delay the possibility of importing new cases of COVID-19.
A coordinated effort is being made with regional and international partners as to the opportune time to open our borders – but until such a decision is arrived at, our borders remain closed and the established protocols must be followed.
We continue to act with caution with respect to our borders, as we have seen in some countries that there has been a spike in confirmed cases of COVID-19 when restrictions were lifted.
SOLEMN DUTY OF PROTECTING CITIZENS AND RESIDENTS
This has been a really trying time for all of us. We have had to make huge sacrifices to our way of life to protect the greater good – the health and wellbeing of all citizens and residents.
My Government remains focused and committed to safeguarding the health of the entire population, so that we can all have the most productive and happy lives.
I continue to encourage you to be safe by adhering to all the health and safety measures that have been put in place; namely, wearing of the masks in public places, washing of hands, and physical distancing.
Moreover, I ask that you cooperate with the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC), the Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) and our security officers, who continue to demonstrate their professionalism and patriotism. Let us remain vigilant. The pandemic is still with us.
Thank you for your time and attention, and may God continue to bless each and every one of us and, of course, our beautiful, beloved St. Kitts and Nevis.
I thank you.