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By Elesha George

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The government of Antigua and Barbuda has now made it mandatory for businesses to be certified in order to legally reopen after coronavirus-related closures.

While a slew of businesses are being allowed to function outside of curfew hours, the relaxation is conditional upon several safety measures, including a permit to operate during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The latest publication of the extraordinary gazette states that businesses “must obtain a certificate of approval from the Board before the business shall be permitted to reopen”.

Chief Health Inspector of the Central Board of Health (CBH), Sharon Martin, says the body received the certificates on June 17, and has already started distributing them to the businesses previously inspected under the protocols.

Those protocols allowed businesses like beauty salons, barbershops, restaurants and bars to reopen under strict guidelines established by the Ministry of Health in conjunction with CBH but only required them to display copies of those guidelines inside the work area and on the entrance door of the establishment.

Martin told Observer that the certificate is a “fitting way” of letting people know that CBH was involved in inspecting and authorising the operation of these businesses and that it was done in keeping with the established protocols.

The certificate indicates that the business place has been inspected and met the criteria to resume work. Once a business is in receipt of a certificate, they should have it on display. The document, however, does have an expiry date, as it will last until December 2020 in the first instance. Beginning January 2021, businesses will be re-inspected quarterly.

The new measure applies to bars and clubs, casinos, gyms, hairdressing salons and barbershops, plus hotels, villas and guest houses, as well as restaurants and catering facilities.

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