Prime Minister Gonsalves declared with a 70% vaccinated population we would be able to party and unlatch our reservations; a worthy bribe according to some. However, only 10 percent of the population have been vaccinated. Despite this low vaccination number the Easter weekend appears to have a semblance of normalcy.
Churches held their Good Friday services with commendable turn outs, impromptu events and picnics were held across the mainland and hundreds of Vincentians travelled to the Grenadine island of Bequia.
Is it coincidence that all of these outdoor activities are taking place while the Brewery and Corea’s are promoting their beers 4 for $10, up from the usual 3 for $10 ? Is it a coincidence that bars are filled with patrons not wearing their masks ? Or is it a coincidence that Bequia Express had dozens of vehicles lined up to board on Good Friday, leaving many no choice but to turn back ? On Easter Sunday Catamarans and Speedboats hit the waters, many with more than 10 passengers.
In 2020 Prime Minister Gonsalves asked Vincentians to stay home for the Easter weekend and most adhered, fast forward to 2021 Deputy Prime Minister Montgomery Daniel requested the same and the population is reacting differently. No one can deny that exhaustion of being home is at an all time high.
The Ministry of Education has advised that schools will reopen on the 12th of April. We have seen some restaurants deliberately allowing dining , hotels have been filled with individuals in quarantine while some have been encouraging vacations, the only precautions enforced by supermarkets is to sanitize your hand upon entry and the wearing of masks.
The Entertainment industry is the only one still being substantially affected. Entertainers such Disc Jockeys and Artistes have not done any major work since December 2020 and in some cases 2019. They complain that the Omnibus Bus Operators, Farmers and Hoteliers have been cushioned by the Government and they feel left out. Take a drive around Kingstown, Arnos Vale or Villa on a Friday evening, some bars have amplified music while others don’t; Who determines where the Protocols should be enforced ? With such a relaxed approach to what is taking place around us, Carnival should not be disallowed for another year. We have experimented over the last few weeks and our Covid numbers have dropped significantly however, it must not be safeguard. Vincentians have demonstrated they have the means to afford outings over the Easter weekend. The activities should be tailored to cater to locals and stringent quarantine measures must be in place for foreigners. We are doing well, let us continue to do so and accommodate every sector going forward with Covid-19.