Restaurants can re-open, curfew pushed back as Seychelles eases COVID-19 rules
Restaurants in Seychelles will be able to reopen under strict guidelines from the Public Health Authority, whilst the nightly curfew will be pushed back two hours to 10 p.m., the Public Health Commissioner said on Monday.
Gyms and spas will also be able to re-open, but only for customers that make appointments in advance. Shops will still close at 6 pm but can now remain open until 6 pm on weekends instead of closing at 3 pm as was the case before.
Despite the relaxed guidelines, schools will still remain closed through at least the middle or end of the month. Casinos, standalone bars and discotheques will also remain closed for now. Sporting events, public events, group gatherings indoors and outdoors and church services except for funerals are still not permitted.
The relaxing of some restrictions comes at a time when 35 percent of the adult population has taken both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, but officials said the restrictions cannot be completely removed because the rate of infection is still too high.
“Restaurants and food outlets can reopen once they have been reevaluated. Already there are established criteria and have been shared through SCCI (Seychelles Chambers of Commerce and Industry) which we have worked closely with,” explained the health commissioner, Jude Gedeon, shortly after a COVID-19 committee meeting chaired by President Wavel Ramkalawan.
Gedeon added that the restaurants are following the same process used with retail shops. These establishments will get the go-ahead to reopen only after public health officers have conducted site visits and endorsed these establishments.
According to Gedeon, restaurants and food outlets will not accept walk-in customers. “You will need to make a reservation ahead. Bars within the restaurant can remain open but will be used only for clients using the restaurants,” explained Gedeon.
Gym and fitness facilities will also reopen but only a number of people can use the facilities at a given time. Only members will be allowed to use gyms and people will need to call in before and book for a slot. Spas and beauty parlours can also reopen but on an appointment basis only.
Gedeon said that the Health Authority is working closely with the Ministry of Education to plan the reopening of schools. Some postsecondary schools are set to open by the middle of March.
“They can propose their calendar of school reopening, but we know that some sectors are doing their pre-planning. As for primary and secondary, the ministry is working on their plans for reopening but this will probably be towards the end of March,” explained Gedeon.
The Public Health Commissioner added that guidelines and Standing Operating Procedures already in place will be respected. Gedeon added that the ministry is also doing an exercise to find out the coverage of vaccinations amongst school staff, and said that the target is to get at least 70 percent of staff are vaccinated.
To date, 2,188 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean; 2,365 have since recuperated, 312 are active cases and 11 persons have died from the virus.