Letter to the Prime Minister from Independent Restaurateurs
Right Honorable Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre
October 26th, 2021
Dear Prime Minister,
We write to explain our current plight as the Independent Restaurant Sector and solicit your assistance in addressing our issues.
Financial and Economic Impact:
We are the only sector of any industry in Saint Lucia who has been restricted by protocols without showing us any proof/statistics of spread from our sector whatsoever. Consequently, we have been suffering immense financial losses, closure of businesses and unemployment for our employees for the past 18 months.
We are pleased that you have committed to financial assistance for our sector, and we stress on the urgency of that assistance for our survival.
Guest Vaccination Mandate:
Our sector is the only sector mandated by the government to have fully vaccinated guests. It affects the local businesses adversely when the rate of vaccination is so low in the country. Even though hotel occupancy is on the rise, we are unable to take advantage and accommodate all hotel guests. Moreover, we are alienating a lot of our local customers with what is being perceived as discrimination. We request an amendment to allow our services to all with protocols just as all other sectors are allowed.
The current operating hours do not allow our sector to offer dinner services which represents 75% of our business. We are requesting an immediate amendment to allow later opening hours at least until 10 pm.
Employee Vaccination Mandate:
We are the only private sector mandated by the government to vaccinate our employees in order to operate. We are being targeted by employees and customers for being discriminatory, resulting in more loss of business and employees.
Vaccination should be mandated for our sector ONLY if it is mandated for other sectors
We are requesting active participation in a timely manner in decision making for our sector. An outline/ roadmap of the government plan for the next few months will be very much appreciated. It will enable us to plan effectively. We are willing to work with the government in aggressively educating and encouraging persons to get vaccinated in order to protect themselves and others.
We look forward to your serious and immediate consideration of the above. We request a zoom meeting at your earliest to discuss these issues and ensure our input and consideration in the November 1, 2021 protocols update.
Hon. Ernest Hillaire, Minister of Tourism
Hon. Moses Jn. Baptiste, Minister of Health
Dr. Sharon Belmar George, Chief Medical Officer
Mr. Paul Collymore, SLHTA
Mr. Milton Desir, Commissioner of Police
Mr. Brian Louisy, Chamber of Commerce