A stage-by-stage approach to normalityTuesday, October 12, 2021
The continued economic impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic demands a strategic plan for reopening the economy.
The pandemic has caused both catastrophic economic harm and exposed our economy's inability to provide stability and security for all. Our aim now should be a phased reopening of our economy so that our people can get back to earning and supporting their families.
It has been almost two years since the emergence of COVID-19, and we have been in lockdown after lockdown. These lockdowns serve little to no purpose as they tend to create more gathering when lifted and even during said lockdown, thus causing the possible spread of the virus.
The ongoing curfew provides less time for citizens to earn and support themselves; meanwhile, the Government is yet to present to the country a clear plan that it intends to use to reopen the economy.
Unless we address this immediate crisis, both the political and economic support for these overused measures to rectify the problem will be crushed. The Patriots are therefore recommending that the Government implements a stage-by-stage reopening of the economy over a period of months. This should include clear goals for each phase and centred on vaccination and positivity rates, as well as hospitalisation.
Stage 1: This would be when we achieve a 30 per cent vaccination rate with less than 300 hospitalisations. During this stage the curfew should be in effect from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am, allowing bars, restaurants, rivers, and beaches to operate. The current gathering limit should remain and the entertainment sector should stay closed. With proper planning and community vaccination drives, this can be achieved by November 2021.
Stage 2: This will take effect when we achieve a 50 per cent vaccination rate with fewer than 200 hospitalisations and a positivity rate of less than 2.5 per cent. The curfew hours should be relaxed to 11:00 pm to 5:00 am, copying the previous measures and allowing for a 30 per cent of capacity gathering limit for restaurants and bars. The entertainment sector should remain closed.
Stage 3: On reaching a 65 per cent vaccination rate with fewer than 200 hospitalisations and a positivity rate of 2.5 per cent. The curfew hours should be relaxed to 12:00 am to 5:00 am, along with all measures from the previous stages; however, the entertainment sector should be reopened and venues restricted to 25 per cent of capacity. In addition, all patrons must produce a vaccination passport. This should be achieved by December 2021.
With this phased approach to reopening, the country could start to rebound from the economic hardships brought on by measures to restrict the spread of the novel coronavirus.
There are thousands of vaccines that expired on October 1, 2021. If the Government is clear on strategic goals and how vaccination allows these strategic goals to be met, as well as its importance to the country's livelihood, we would see a greater take-up of these vaccines.
We are therefore urging the Government to explore our recommendations.
The Patriots is willing to be a part of any committee working to implement these recommendations to get our country back to normal.
Councillor Candidate- Gayle Division
Vice-President, PNP Patriots