With more than 1200 new cases of coronavirus being recorded in the first month of the year, the Government of Guyana is moving ahead with the further reopening of the country even as other countries globally are tightening restrictions against COVID-19.
In the updated COVID-19 measures, the Government is allowing bars to reopen at 40% of their capacity. Two weeks ago indoor dining for restaurants was also approved at 40% capacity. Both bars and restaurants should close their doors nightly by 9:30pm.
Bars in Guyana have been closed since March 2020. The reopening of bars at 40% capacity comes even as religious organisations are only allowed to host religious services at 25% of the capacity of their buildings.
The updated measures will see the 10:30pm to 4:00am curfew remaining in place along with several of the other measures that have been in place since last year including restrictions on event hosting and social gatherings.
During an afternoon press conference today, President Ali in response to a question from News Source on the justification for the reopening of bars at a time when cases are increasing, said the Ministry of Health now has greater capacity to deal with coronavirus cases.
The President said the government has faced complaints from business and bar owners about the impact the pandemic was having on their businesses. He said the government was faced with the question of whether it would allow businesses to go bankrupt or to ensure they reopen and adhere to specific guidelines.
Prime Minister Mark Phillips who heads the National COVID-19 Task Force said citizens must realise that they need to be the most responsible in protecting themselves against the pandemic.
Guyana currently has more than 800 active COVID-19 cases. The country’s death toll now stands at 176 following the death of a 53-year-old woman on Saturday.