Take your beer to go: New COVID-19 regulations for bars, street food
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Under the revised Public Health Regulations the customers at restaurants, bars, and street stalls, should now take their meals and drinks to go.
Following a surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths, government has once more tightened health restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Here is an overview of the Public Health [2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)] (No. 25) Regulations, 2020, in effect from August 18 to September 12, 2020.*
1. Takeaway only for bars, street food, restaurants
Under Section 3 of the health regulations, anyone providing dine-in services either at a restaurant or food court in a shopping mall can be found guilty of a offence.
Likewise, customers purchasing food or drinks at bars can no longer consume their beverages in-house or even near to the bar.
Section 3 (n) of the regulations states it is an offence ‘to allow dine-in services or consumption of drinks at bars, its premises or precincts’.
Similarly, it is also an offence to allow 'roadside consumption' of food and drinks being sold by roadside vendors – customers must instead take-away their meals.
The regulations state: 'a restaurant, food court, bar or street vendor may provide take-away service to its customers'.
2. Gatherings of five and under
Under the health regulations, it is an offence for people to gather in groups of more than five, without ‘reasonable justification’. Sport events have also been halted with the exception of approval from the Ministry.
3. No gym, no movies
Under the regulations citizens are also prohibited from going to gyms and fitness centres, cinemas, clubs, parties (including boat parties), gaming and gambling houses.
4. Schools, daycare services still closed
Under the regulations schools and daycare centres remain closed, with the exception of the School Entrance Assessment (SEA) Exam on August 20, 2020, the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Examination and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) Examination, and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), or any other exam as approved by the Minister of Education.
5. Religious services suspended
Under the regulations, it is an offence to ‘conduct religious or ecclesiastical services or any other religious gatherings’.
However there are exceptions, such as weddings, christenings, baptisms or other special events, once the gathering does not exceed 10 people and adheres to the health regulations guidelines for places of worship.
6. No beach or river limes, pool limes
The health regulations have also mandated that the public must not visit beaches, rivers and local water sites. This includes water amusement parks.
7. Businesses still open from 8am to 10 pm
Under the regulations businesses may still close at 10 pm and open at 8 am.
8. Half capacity for public transportation
The regulations also mandate only 50 percent capacity for public transportation vehicles.
The public is urged to maintain physical distancing, sanitisation and wearing of face masks. The public is also urged to stay home if ill.
Anyone who has developed symptoms of COVID-19 should call the hotline 877-WELL or 800-WELL (9355) for further guidance.
Anyone who is severely ill should call the 811 (emergency hotline) or call ahead to the Accident and Emergency Department of the nearest hospital for help and go in immediately.
COVID-19 Public Health Regulations No. 25, August 18, 2020
*Editor's note: This article has been amended to refer to the Public Health [2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)] (No. 25) Regulations, 2020.