Days after the COVID-19 Task Force closed at least one city business for breaching the COVID – 19 measures with regards to indoor dining, it has now relaxed the restriction, which allows for both indoor and outdoor dining to take place.
The relaxation of the measure comes almost a year after restaurants were forced to close due to the COVID – 19 pandemic and later given the green light to reopen but with strict restrictions.
The gazetted measure was amended on Wednesday last by an amendment notice in the Official Gazette, allowing for limited indoor dining. Indoor dining is, however, restricted to 40% of the capacity of the dining area. Buffet dining is still prohibited.
The gazetted order stipulates that indoor and outdoor dining are now permitted between the hours of 4 am and 9.30 pm. It noted that food services and restaurants are to have tables spaced six feet apart and no more than four persons will be allowed to be seated at one table, also six feet apart.
President of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG), Mitra Ramkumar told the News Room via telephone on Friday that the tourism body welcomes this latest development.
He said it comes following appeals to the COVID-19 Task Force and a proposal that demonstrated how restaurants can reopen safely. THAG had asked for 50% capacity for indoor dining, but nonetheless, is happy with the announcement of a 40% capacity.
THAG has also lobbied for the reopening of theaters and outlined a menu of measures to prevent the spread of COVID. The Task Force is yet to accede to that request.
Staff at restaurants are required to wear a face mask at all times and are required to sanitise dining tables and chairs after use by each customer. The new measure only applies to establishments that are permitted to operate in accordance with the safety measures.
THAG had pointed to indoor dining policies from specific countries in the Caribbean.
– Barbados: Allows indoor dining and has developed a framework for restaurants to follow.
– Jamaica: Indoor dining is allowed with restaurants limited to 50 per cent capacity and parties restricted to 4 people. Tables must be spaced 6 feet apart. Restaurants are subject to compliance spot checks from government officials.
– Saint Lucia: Indoor dining is allowed but subject to a 9 pm curfew.
– Trinidad and Tobago: Indoor dining at restaurants is allowed at 50 per cent capacity with groups limited to 10 people.