While government has lifted the ban on all bars, pubs, and nightclubs, those establishments must remain closed until inspected and given a reopening date by the Environmental Health Department, which is likely to be sometime this week.
This is according to the Chief Environmental Health Officer Lionel Michael, who told BVI News his department is aiming to have the aforementioned businesses reopened once all the newly required COVID-19 protocols are in place.
He said: “We looking at any time between Wednesday and Thursday this week. I don’t know which day, but it’s somewhere between those dates.”
Michael said his department has been in consultation with the recently established Owners of Bars Association to get the member businesses informed on the new required protocols.
“We have 43 persons going around to check this. We have people going around in Sea Cow’s Bay and East End and around the country to make sure that they are not opened. We don’t want them to open without putting in the new guidance because there is some new guidance that they have to put in that speaks to dancing, karaoke, dominoes and different games and so on,” he explained.
A four-step process must be followed
Michael described a four-step process that each establishment must follow before their respective business can reopen to the public.
“First, the ongoing consultation with the owner of the bars and nightclubs. There is an Owners of Bars Association that has been formed and we are in consultation with them to ensure that we have safe guidelines, safe protocols before putting to use in the opening.”
“Second, there will be training of all bars, pubs, and nightclubs. Third, the bars, pubs and clubs will use the guidelines to prepare themselves for inspections. Fourth, we will conduct the inspection and upon completion of the inspections, we will make a determination as to what time they will open,” he added.
Some bars choosing to ignore notice
Michael further said some bars have been misusing the recent announcement made by the government as reasons to have their businesses opened.
“When the government made this announcement on the 7th of October, it clearly stated that bars, pubs and nightclubs can open, but they have to be inspected and passed inspection before they open for business. What we have found is that some bars and pubs have decided to ignore the second half of the government notice and proceeded to open their business,” he stated.
“We got information from the public and we visited those business places and they were closed immediately. Six of them were closed immediately, three of them in the East End community and about three of them in West End,” he added.
Bars and nightclubs were linked to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases which occurred in August and September.
The BVI has since fully recovered from all previously reported positive cases, and presently have zero known active cases of the virus.
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