The Government has released new protocol which will allow for COVID positive people in isolation to go out to vote in the special services poll today or during Thursday’s general election on September 3.

Members of the security forces and election day workers will vote today.

In a statement released shortly after midnight, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) said people in isolation will only be allowed to vote between the hours of 4 pm and 5 pm and under strict guidelines.

It said the following guidelines must be followed:

1. Before leaving isolation, the voter must notify the Health and Wellness Ministry at 888-ONE-LOVE (888-663-5683), 888-754-7792, 876-542-5998, or 876-542-6006;

2. Except as otherwise directed by an election officer, for the duration of the time when the person is out of isolation, he/she must wear a mask fitted to cover the nose and mouth, a face shield, gloves and a disposable gown;

3. As far as is reasonably practicable, for the duration of the time when the person is out of isolation, he/she must maintain social distancing of six feet from other persons.

4. The voter must travel to and from a polling station in private transportation in which:

a) there are no other persons except for the driver, who shall wear a mask fitted to cover the driver’s nose and mouth.

b) the windows of the vehicle must remain open and the air conditioning switched off.

5. The voter must wash or sanitise hands before leaving the place of isolation and before and after entering the transportation.

6. The voter must maintain the maximum practicable social distance from the driver in the vehicle.

7) The voter must comply with all the protocols at the polling station.

Meanwhile, the OPM said persons in quarantine will also be allowed to vote.

These are people who may have been exposed to a positive patient or would have arrived in the island within 14 days and orders to remain in a particular location.

They will be allowed to vote from 7 a.m to 5 p.m on September 3.

If they are in the special services, they will be allowed to vote from 8 am to 4 p.m today.

However, after voting, they shall immediately return to quarantine.

They are required to comply with the following requirements:

1. Travel only to and from a polling station in private transportation in which:

a. the driver and all passengers at all times while in the transportation each wear a mask fitted to cover their nose and mouth.

b. the windows remain open and the air conditioning is switched off;

c. Maintain the maximum practicable social distance from other persons in the transportation;

2.If the person develops any COVID symptom or any flu-like or respiratory symptoms, he/she must immediately inform an election officer at the polling station.

Meanwhile, the OPM says persons aged 75 years and older will also be allowed to leave home to go to vote.

Under a previous order, they were restricted to stay home except for essential services and supplies.

All persons at a polling station must obey the following orders:

1. Wear a mask fitted to cover the nose and mouth, except as may otherwise be required by an election officer for the purposes of identification.

2. Submit to a temperature check before entering the polling station.

3. Wash or sanitise the hands upon entering the polling station, and at such other times while at the polling station as may be directed by an election officer; and

4. Maintain social distancing of six feet from other persons.

(Source: Antigua News Room)

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