One day following what should have been Mardi Gras 2020 VincyMas style, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves intimated that the amplified sound ban, instituted to help curb mass gatherings across SVG, would be lifted within short order.
Vincentians were noticeably chomping at the bit as the VincyMas season swung around amidst COVID-19 control measures. One week following his latest announcement of his Cabinet’s intention to have the measure adjusted, PM Gonsalves told listeners of NBC Radio’s Morning Cup midweek prime ministerial update that health officials finally signed off on a Protocol for Managed Conduct of Mass Gatherings and Amplified Music.
“The objectives are to: minimize the potential for creating a COVID-19 super-spread at events; reduce the exposure of attendees or patrons of mass gatherings in St Vincent and the Grenadines to COVID; early identification of attendees/patrons of mass gatherings suspicious of having COVID-19 and to facilitate contact tracing and early containment of COVID-19 in the event of exposure at a mass gathering….
“The managed conduct of mass gatherings with amplified music would be a collaborative effort involving the police force and the Health Service sub-committee core team,” Dr. Gonsalves announced.
“The measures of the protocols recognize the increased risk of the spread, now that people are going to come in again from countries with many cases of COVID-19 and of course the altered nature of the COVID-19 requirements,” the Vincentian Prime Minister added.
Amongst those measures are limitations to the number of attendees per event depending on the choice of venue. As such, “outdoor gatherings with amplified music” should only host a maximum of 300 persons while indoor events would be limited to 200 patrons – providing the requisite spacing to allow for physical distance is available.
“I don’t want to aggregate unto myself the authority of the Commissioner of Police but I’m just telling you what has been agreed upon. I suspect that if you have 210 people in Heritage Square, 220, I don’t think that the policeman is going to tell you, ‘well 20 of you gah move.’ I don’t think that is how – you know?
“But the mass gathering would apply to people who would want to go and have a church service in the open. Then the temperature checks of persons where you have a controlled entry let’s say Victoria Park you’d do temperature checks there. Understand these things for temperature checks they are available, you can buy them at Corea’s or ACE or whatever, have you.
“And any person who is found with a temperature greater than 100.1 degrees Fahrenheit must be referred immediately to the COVID hotline. And just to repeat the COVID hotline is 534 – 4325,” PM Gonsalves also said.
At least one sanitization station must be made available per every 40 patron anticipated for each event, PM Gonsalves noted.
Top cop Colin John, on Thursday July 9, told Vincentians that the ban would be rescinded effective Friday July 10 to July 31 in the first instance. Police resources were also pledged to ensure full compliance with the adopted protocols.
Applicants wishing to engage amplified sound must, in addition to the usual stipulations spelt out in the local Noise Act, “comply with all if the protocols relating to the prevention/containment of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.