Keep Christmas gatherings small – PM urges



Prime Minister Mark Phillips has appealed to the public to keep their holiday festivities small and in accordance with the COVID-19 measures.

On the sidelines of an event on Tuesday, he told media operatives that it is a custom for Guyanese to socialise during this time.

However, the he contended that the pandemic takes precedence this year and crowds must not be encouraged.

“We know Guyanese like to shop, socialize, cooking and inviting people over. What is important during this time, we must recognize that it is Christmas but we also have the COVID-19 pandemic that we have to deal with…A crowd or crowded event is a super-spreading activity, meaning that it is the perfect activity to spread COVID-19. We want people desist from partying. You can have your family gathering but keep it small. Ensure that you wear your masks, practice social distancing and sanitize,” the Prime Minister said.

Phillips, who is also Chairman of the Covid-19 Task Force, went on to say that Operation COVI-CURB – which involves the government, joint services, private sector and non-governmental organisations – will be continuing its work throughout the festive season.

Phillips said he is content with their achievement thus far in sensitizing the public.

Notwithstanding, he said people have a responsibility to keep themselves safe as well.

“We’re all working towards trying to curb the spread. There are certain hotspots throughout the country and there’s community spread in some areas. Notwithstanding, we continue to work as a body under Operation COVI-CURB to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Guyana…From my standpoint, we’re doing a good job at working with all the stakeholders to curb the spread. However, the onus is on the people to continue to observe the measures, wear masks, sanitise and practice social distancing.”

When asked about greater enforcement, he noted that it is the last resort in getting people to comply with the guidelines. According to the PM, Guyanese must be educated enough to play their part.

He opined, “We’re doing our part and we want every family to do their part…You can expect greater enforcement but our focus is more on education, engaging and encouraging people to adhere to the measures. Enforcement will be done but as far as I am concerned, it should be a last resort. What we need is people who are better educated.”

For the month of December, the National COVID-19 Measures have been extended and the curfew has remained from 10:30pm to 04:00am.

It states that no one is permitted to host or attend private party, banquet hall, bar and club among others. Failure to comply with the mandatory mask requirement would make persons liable under Section 152 of the Public Health Ordinance.