Citizens welcome plans to end COVID-19 restrictions but want some measures to remain
President Dr Irfaan Ali on Sunday said he plans to end all COVID-19 measures to allow for the full re-opening of the country after two years of battling the pandemic.
Public and private businesses and citizens will be able to operate as they did before the pandemic hit in March 2020. The President’s decision has sparked a nationwide conversation with many debating whether the measures should be removed since the pandemic era is far from over.
The News Room on Monday spoke to a few citizens in the capital city to get their views on the issue and while some support it fully, others believe that some restrictions should remain to safeguard the country against the deadly virus.
For Zittman George, a welder, the removal of the restrictions for Guyana is “long-overdue” as many other countries have taken the same approach.
“You got to move on,” he said. George shared that he has been fully vaccinated and is awaiting the time for his booster dose. And though the mask requirement will no longer be mandatory, he shared that he would still be adhering to this rule.
“I gotta protect me and the people around me so I gon be wearing my mask,” he added.
One woman, who wished to remain anonymous, did not support the removal. To her, COVID-19 is still rampant and so there needs to be strict measures in place.
“COVID ain’t done, so why we removing it?”
The woman said she was not vaccinated and like George, she will still wear her mask.
Another woman, who also wished to remain anonymous, said that the measures should remain. She told the News Room that she survived the dreaded virus and would not “wish the experience” on anyone.
“I barely mek it, barely so I want the measures in place…people got to wear they masks and all that…people need to get vaccinated too to protect themself, we cannot keep operating like this thing gone,” she stated.
The city’s Deputy Mayor Alfred Mentore also weighed in on the conversation.
For him, the measures can be removed but “only in a staggered fashion” and not all at once.
“There is a time for everything and the COVID-19 restrictions should be removed but by some percentage…we remove one part and then remove another until the entire thing is gone but not all at once,” he told the News Room.
Ms. Henry (only name given) believes that “the time is now” for Guyana to join the rest of the world and remove the restrictions.
“Is time for people to get back to their normal life…the rest of the world enjoying they life as normal, partying and having fun so what happen to Guyana man…let them remove it,” the woman said.
While the measures will be removed, the President had said that sanitisation booths, sanitizing the environment, and encouraging the wearing of masks, would still be encouraged.
The socio-economic impact of COVID-19 has impacted Guyana and many other countries in immeasurable ways.