While the National COVID-19 Task Force has reportedly dispatched a last warning to the operators of Palm Court on Main Street, Georgetown for breaching the national measures, the popular business has denied doing so.
A letter was issued by Task Force Director Nazrul Hussain, alleging that the nightspot has operated in violation of the national COVID-19 measures, without specifying what were the breaches.
It specified that legal sanctions could be taken, including having Palm Court’s licence revoked.
However, Palm Court has supported the national measures and the authorities which are in place to ensure compliance.
On this note, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) in a statement to the media highlighted that the Task Force chose to ‘discredit’ the restaurant while adding that the letter was leaked before the alleged defaulter was notified.
“The Private Sector Commission notes with concern the contents of the said warning letter to Palm Court … The Private Sector Commission is extremely disappointed that the COVID Task Force chose to discredit the oldest and most internationally-recognised restaurant in Guyana (1950), the Palm Court by issuing a final warning letter of closure and leaking the said letter to the media even before the alleged defaulter was notified,” the PSC release said.
The PSC did also admit that scores of businesses have been operating in a similar manner, but with all the necessary measures in place and as such, called for the letter to be withdrawn.
“The Task Force must be aware, as it is public knowledge, that hundreds of businesses operate in a similar manner to that of Palm Court. Hence, this action would appear to be biased and discriminatory and the letter should be withdrawn forthwith,” the PSC stated.
Nevertheless, the Commission said it was ‘committed’ to the original mandate given to the Task Force by President Irfaan Ali.
These emergency measures are made pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2)(b) of the Direction by the President, given under the Public Health Ordinance, Cap 145, and published in the Gazette, Legal Supplement – B, 16th March 2020.
The Government concluded that it made a rapid assessment of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and found that it was fragmented and incapable of administering the public health, economic and social measures needed to keep the population safe.
The Order noted that the current measures are extended to allow for further assessments and consultations to develop updated protocols to aid in the combating of the COVID-19 spread.
For social and entertainment spots, it specifies that there should be strict social distancing and persons must take precautions. This is especially important in an indoor setting.