BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, June 16, 2021 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Produce vendors who plied their trade on various streets throughout Basseterre in recent times are now adjusting smoothly to their new accommodations at the Basseterre Public Market which is now operating under enhanced COVID-19 safety measures and protocols.

This was confirmed today (June 16) when Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, supported by Permanent Secretary in the Minister of Agriculture Mr. Ron Collins and Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Tracey Challenger, visited the facility located at the Bay Road.

“I had the opportunity to interact with a large number of vendors, to hear their perspective and to explain the rationale for keeping them in the public market where they are safer and where their customers are safer in the context of the community spread that we’re having. The control measures where persons have to sanitize and have to wear their masks are all critical elements of the new environment in which we are operating,” Dr. Harris said.

As part of its measures to contain the spread of the virus, Prime Minister Harris announced in a national address on Friday, June 11 that no street vending will be allowed for 14 days in the first instance. The prime minister stated then that vending will only be allowed at the public market “with controlled spaces where strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols must be observed.”

Prime Minister Harris said the measure of having persons entering the public market recording their names is another important measure that will allow health officials in its contact tracing exercise in the event of a suspected case.

“If anyone who had been here comes down with the virus within a particular period of time, we are able to round up as many people and quarantine them where necessary, isolate them where necessary, so that you cut off the ability of the virus to spread because many persons would have it and are unaware of it and so they keep on spreading it onto others,” the prime minister added. 

A number of vendors expressed their appreciation to Prime Minister Harris for taking the time out to see first-hand how they are adjusting to their new settings and generally for doing all his Government is doing to keep citizens and residents as safe as possible during this time of a global pandemic.

Wednesday’s visit was the second such visit for the prime minister at the Basseterre Public Market since the introduction of the new regulations on Friday, June 11. Prime Minister Harris said he intends to return at a later date to give even more support to the vendors.