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The Grenada government on Wednesday said that the cancellation of the annual Carnival celebrations, Spicemas, this year because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, has also resulted in the loss of the two days observed as public holidays.
“We can’t have it because if we do, if you have a holiday what are you going to do, just sit home…a lot of people will, in fact, use it to feel it’s a holiday let’s have fun and not necessarily within the confines of the COVID protocol we have established,” Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell said as he confirmed that August 10th and 11th were no longer public holidays as gazetted at the start of 2020.
“We better be safe than sorry,” he said as he justified the cancellation. Grenada has recorded 23 cases of the virus that was first detected in China last December and blamed for 671 000 deaths and 14 million infections worldwide.
“We have seen enough holidays, we have had to lock down this country for almost three months…we have to get back to business, get back to some form of serious economic life in the country,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said that the country had lost a significant amount of revenue during the lockdown period between March to mid-May.
“We cannot continue that mind set of free time; I don’t think it’s right. I don’t enjoy telling people that we have to forego the Monday holiday, half-day Tuesday, but hopefully next year we [are] going to have a bumper time,” he said.
“Hopefully by the time the vaccine comes on stream and we can protect ourselves, we will be much safer, I believe that we are sacrificing today for a more successful 2021,”Mitchell said.
On May 5, Grenada officially announced the cancellation of 2020 Carnival celebrations.
“Grenada, like the rest of the world is dealing with the wide-ranging effects of COVID-19, not only on public health and the local economy but also our way of life. While great effort has been made by the local authorities to manage the spread of this disease, an event, the size and nature of our carnival can give rise to the often-touted “second wave” of COVID-19 and further impact the lives and livelihoods of Grenadians,” the Spicemas Corporation said in a statement.
Grenada, which reopened its international airport on July15 to passengers from the Caribbean, will on August 1, allow entry to international passengers.
All international visitors will be quarantined for 14 days whether there is proof that the person has a negative COVID certificate within seven days before arriving in the country.