Chief Environmental Health Officer, Mr. Lionel Michael, has commended the efforts of the participating restaurants at the 9th annual Anegada Lobster Festival for their compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.
The Chief told BVI Platinum on Saturday, November 27 that monitoring continues by the Environmental Health Division and the Social Distancing Taskforce today, Sunday.
“I think the Lobster Fest was quite well organized I was particularly impressed with the efforts made by businesses and individuals to comply with the COVID
-19 control and suppression measures.”
He said with the exception of a few persons who had to be called out for not wearing their masks properly, everyone else was in compliance.
“I went to quite a few business places and I observed people wearing masks, sanitizing their hands and people who came in groups they tend to stay in groups. Generally, I was very satisfied with the efforts of the business people and persons who patronized the businesses,” he said.
He added, “One of the things about Anegada is that the businesses are spread out and not close to one another. People tend to have space to interact and to take part in the business activities and to have fun. So I like the idea of how they are spread out and the space available at the businesses allowed for social distancing. So generally the handling of it, the sanitiation of the rest of the business places, the storage of the food, the serving of the food, the temperatures in the kitchen, the refrigerators were working very well.”
He said there were some challenges observed with a few restaurants with their food on display not being at the desired temperature, but indicated that the department will work with those businesses to improve in this area.
Prior to the event there were two food handlers training specifically for the culinary festival.
“So we are confident that with them taking part in the training, they were well trained and they would be able to apply the measures and food safety principles because we want to ensure that even though you don’t get COVID
, you also don’t get foodborne illness because you can also die from foodborne diseases,” Michael stated.
He again called on persons to continue to wear their masks properly, socially distance and wash or sanitize their hands frequently.
Michael added: “The good efforts of the businesses and people of Anegada Lobster Fest though very commendable and satisfactory, the real test will come two to three weeks after the Lobster Fest would have ended because the incubation period for COVID
-19 is around that time. So people have to take precaution during the Lobster Fest to minimize any case of COVID
-19 after the Lobster Fest.”
His advice comes following news that the BVI Tourist Board was hit by COVID
-19 after a few staff members contracted the virus.
Prmeier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie
said the BVITB had a contingency plan in place which has since been activated.
“We had an issue with it, there is no need to hide it, its happening now and again in government. We had one or two members that tested positive but we always had put measures in place that for the Anegada Lobster fest would be only those BVITB members who are fully vaccinated will be deployed over in Anegada," the Premier said.
The Premier added, “So a contingency plan is in place and it was good that we planned ahead so we trying to make sure that we mitigate as much as possible. But, whenever COVID
-19 shows up it causes a little hiccup but it still doesn’t shut down the Lobster Fest at all, it is still moving forward.”
The territory now has 32 active cases of the virus.