Entertainment spots told – stick to virus rules or lose licence

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Clubs, restaurants and bars across the country have been told to keep the number of patrons at their establishments to a maximum of 25 – or their licences will be suspended or revoked.

Last week, the Cabinet placed the restriction on gatherings, to include churches, in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 after Antigua and Barbuda recorded its first case on March 13.

“If they don’t reduce the numbers to 25, what will happen is that an order will be sought to suspend their licences,” Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, Lionel Hurst, said.

Hurst stressed that people must take measures to remain safe based on the severity of the pandemic.

His comments followed the revelation by the Minister responsible for National Festivals, Daryll Matthew, who identified five bars and clubs that accommodated more than 50 people over the weekend. He further advised the establishments to reduce numbers in order to lessen the possibility of spreading the coronavirus until the health officials say it is safe to reopen in full.

Hurst told Observer that Cabinet decided that, “if there are 50 persons in a single space the likelihood that one person may have coronavirus is greater than if you have 25 people in the room, since each of us have the probability of having the virus but not expressing any illness”.

Since the directive had been issued, a number of popular bars and restaurants have closed their doors to patrons, while others are also considering closing due to the outbreak.

“While preparations are being made for the possibility of caring for more than 100 sick and infected persons, the object of the directive is to reduce the probability of community infections among the Antigua and Barbuda population,” stated Cabinet notes issued to media.

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