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Health Minister: COVID-era Curfews to end soon

By Michelle Sutherland

The rolling COVID-19 related curfews are likely to come to end within weeks, Minister of Health and Wellness Kevin Bernard informed The Reporter recently.

Bernard, speaking in an exclusive interview with The Reporter, indicated that, following intensive discussions with the Covid Medical Response Team (CMRT), it was agreed that if the positivity rate continues to decrease and remains between 10 to 15 % in the next two weeks, his ministry will put forward a recommendation to Cabinet to do away with the nightly curfew for good.

According to Bernard, during multiple discussions with the COVID-19 Medical Task Force, they were of the opinion that after almost two years of living under the pandemic, it is now time to move on. Bernard said that while he had presented some recommendations to Cabinet on Tuesday of this week, they had recommended that he return early next week with a comprehensive write-up that focuses on “Living With Covid.”

“The Prime Minister and Cabinet had requested that we come in with a Cabinet paper in terms of focusing on living with Covid and that means that one of the issues will be the lifting of the curfew, easing of other restrictions, as well the easing of the requirements for testing at the borders, in terms of the time period,” explained Bernard. “We know that the concern is the time period in terms of overnight travel. The medical experts are advising us that we can probably take that up when we look at the trend over the next two weeks so that we can change that to maybe after a three-night stay. So those are some of the recommendations that we are making.”

Over the next couple of days, the Minister and his team will also be reviewing the entire regulations from the beginning of the pandemic in order to compile a new one. Among the recommendations will be allowing weddings, funerals, and other gatherings to revert back to at least 50% capacity.

“The only thing that we know that we are still going to hold on to is the nightclub for a little longer, but that is a decision that we will be having in Cabinet. I cannot make that decision on my own, but that is what the medical team is requesting. I think the mask mandate will also remain for a while because I don't see the need for getting rid of the mask at this point because it is important. We are not at that stage where we are free from COVID. COVID is here. … Until this thing becomes endemic, I believe that that is when that will come but not at this point,” ended the minister.

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