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Government makes it illegal for unvaccinated to work

The newly built Silversands Hotel - located in the south of the island

Grenada has introduced regulations to exclude unvaccinated people from accessing certain types of services and working in some businesses.

The services that now require vaccination in order to access them or to be employed there are day care services, geriatric care, all hospitality and hotels as well as in-dining at restaurants and bars.

Barbers, hairdressers and spa services are also listed among those businesses where employers, employees and customers must present their vaccination card.

Attorney General Dia Forrester announced Tuesday that only businesses that are in compliance would be allowed to resume operations.

Employees who have taken only the first dose of vaccine can continue to work, however, they must be fully vaccinated within a specific time period, three weeks in the case of the Pfizer vaccine and eight weeks for AstraZeneca.

“The government has sought a reasonable, justifiable manner to address the requirements of the businesses,” Forrester said at a post-Cabinet press briefing on Tuesday, adding that the regulations have been introduced at the request of the business community.

According to government officials, the regulations came after consultation with businesses, including the small operators such as hairdressers and barbers even in rural communities.

However, the Government, as an employer of the largest workforce in the country, including the majority of frontline workers, has not made the regulations applicable to its employees and health workers continue to be among those in the population with the lowest vaccination rates.

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The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has also announced that about one-third of its rank and file members are vaccinated.

Businesses where there is non-compliance can face legal penalties, including being shut down by the authorities for seven days.

Currently, almost 25, 000 people in Grenada are fully vaccinated and over 11, 000 have received their first dose.

The rate of vaccination has slowed in the last week after a high up-take as people became fearful during the spike in COVID-19 infections and deaths which began in August and thousands have missed their deadline for getting their second dose of vaccination.

Grenada could see an increase in vaccination now that the government has made it illegal to work in some sectors if not vaccinated.

The hotel industry, St George’s University (SGU), a supermarket and at least one local bank had already initiated their own mandatory vaccination policy for employees.

In an address to the nation Tuesday, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell implored businesses to maintain a fifty percent customer capacity to help lessen the spread of the virus.