The Cabinet of Antigua & Barbuda has announced new Covid-19 policies that are meant to introduce mandatory vaccination for all government employees including those in the public service, statutory corporations and companies in which the government owns majority shares.
Beginning next Monday September, 20, these employees are being asked to stay at home until they can present proof of vaccination.
All unvaccinated employees who fall under this measure, will also be required to remain at home until they can prove that they have taken the Covid-19 vaccine.
Those who do not comply with these new requirements have been told that they will not be paid a salary or wage for the period of non-compliance with the current policy.
The policy is expected to stay in effect indefinitely.
“Until Cabinet is advised by Health Officials that the Covid-19 situation is “under control”, these policies affecting unvaccinated public workers entering on to Government employment places shall remain in effect. A precise date for the end of these announced policies is therefore not yet determined”, the Cabinet notes read.
The Cabinet said it decided to alter several of its policies “in order to speed the achievement of herd immunity before year’s end”.
To achieve this, the Cabinet has also clamped down on beach access and has announced that beginning Monday, beaches are to close at noon until 5am daily.
In addition, all pleasure craft fetes, parties and entertainment events and excursions around the coastal waters and offshore islands are suspended immediately until, September, 29, 2021.
Meantime, all arriving passengers, including returning nationals and residents, are required to have received at least the first dose of a vaccine approved by the appropriate authorities in Antigua and Barbuda; informal/public gatherings are to be restricted to members of the same household; bus drivers, conductors and taxi drivers are required to be vaccinated effective October, 1, 2021 (failure to comply with the current policy will result in restrictions to operate); and taxi drivers, vendors and merchants at the ports of entry are required to be vaccinated.