By Monique Washington
The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is now on a twenty-four-hour curfew effective from March 31 until Friday, April 3 at 6 am in an effort to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in St Kitts and Nevis shot to eight from two confirmed cases in just days. The Prime Minister and Minister of National Security the Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris announced the 24-hour curfew in the country in a national address Monday (March 30)evening.
The PM said because of the citizens’ “irresponsible behavior “ the 24-hour curfew had to be initiated.
“Despite a clear statement that all citizens must stay at home except in certain very limited situations, the Police High Command has reported that many people have chosen to disobey these regulations. Irresponsible behavior will not be tolerated. Offenders will be promptly arrested and charged.”
In the national address on radio and television, the Prime Minister outlined that in an effort to further protect and keep citizens and residents of the Federation safe from the COVID-19 pandemic, His Excellency the Governor-General on Saturday had proclaimed a 14-day State of Emergency in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
He noted that under the Emergency Powers Act, his Government instituted Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations, SR&O No 7 of 2020 — necessary to slow the transmission of the virus from one person to another, including reducing secondary infections among close contacts and healthcare workers.
The Cabinet of Ministers has determined that, after consultation with the Police High Command, the National COVID-19 Working Group, the Chief Medical Officer and the Medical Chief of Staff of the JNF General Hospital, that there be a 24-hour curfew — a total lockdown — from 7 p.m. Tuesday 31st March to 6 a.m. Friday 3rd April in the first instance,” said Prime Minister Harris.
“It means that the current regulations will be repealed and new regulations made in which no one except the Security Forces and other Security Personnel, the Health Care Officers, technical emergency officers of utilities including telecoms, and media personnel, will be allowed out of their residences.”
The ‘Emergency Powers (COVID 19 (No.2) Regulations, 2020 outlines the clear rules that all citizens must abide by or stiff penalties of a fine not exceeding EC$ 5,000 or imprisonment not exceeding six months or both could be applied.
The regulations state that:
- All business should allow their employees to work remotely from home but if the business “is unable to continue its business operations by its employees working remotely from home,” then business shall cease its operations for the duration of these regulations.
“Public Service, Statutory Bodies, State-owned Enterprises and Courts. All persons employed within the public service, a statutory body, a State-owned enterprise or the courts shall work remotely from home, except as may otherwise be directed by the Secretary to the Cabinet.”
- Hospitals and medical facilities; pharmacies and medical supply establishments; businesses licensed to provide security guard services are allowed to remain open.
“ Other businesses or undertakings may be exempted, in writing, by the Commissioner of Police”
- Social distancing and physical distancing protocols have been issued. During the time of business operation all customers and staff must maintain physical distancing of at least six feet (6ft.) in or outside of their business if in a line to enter the business;
- All residents must remain confined to their place of residence, inclusive of their yard space, to avoid contact outside of their family.
- Churches and schools must remain closed
- Restriction on international travel.
- Restrictions have been placed on domestic travel, inter-island private commercial sea transport. And the restriction on road traffic.
“I am satisfied that as long as we adhere to the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations, and we take the advice of our health experts and pray to our God, everything will work for the good,” Dr. Harris said.
Link to The Emergency Powers (COVID-19) (No. 2) Regulations, 2020
(The New Regulations):