Seychellois welcome new freedoms that come with relaxation of COVID measures
Regular religious services such as mass and gatherings are being permitted based on their SOPs. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychellois citizens have welcomed the decision of the health authority to relax COVID-19 restriction measures this week.
Some are happy to be able to get out and exercise more. Others are happy that more tourists are arriving in the island nation.
This week cinemas, casinos, and standalone bars that were closed due to COVID-19 were able to open. Family gatherings are again permitted, though caution around vulnerable members of Seychellois society is still being urged.
Cindy Gonthier, a resident of the northern district Beau Vallon, said that it was long overdue for certain entertainment facilities to reopen.
"We have stayed for so long under restriction. There was no nightlife or way to unwind after work. Some of us have put on extra weight with spending long hours indoors. Now we can go out, but in respecting the standard operating procedures of places that we are going to," said Gonthier.
Public gatherings such as AGM meetings, graduation ceremonies, receptions for weddings, and meetings among others can take place as long as they abide by the SOPs of the venue.
A full-time wedding decorator and planner, Janina Edmond, said that it has been very hard to keep her business up and running.
"I am very happy that the authorities have taken our business into consideration. With the reopening of the airport, I can start getting foreign clients again to come and say I do in Seychelles. As a wedding planner, I only have to incorporate the SOPs in my arrangements," said Edmond.
With regards to grocery stores that have been allowed to remain open until 8 pm, Valitino Mein of Belonie close to the capital Victoria said that this would largely work for the benefit of those finishing work a bit late.
However, Mein added that "the restrictions on night movements remain in place between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. do not make sense and restriction on movement should be removed completely."
According to the figures released by the Ministry of Health on Tuesday, 66,250 people have received a first dose of either Covishield or Sinopharm vaccines which is 95 percent of the target population of 70,000.
Family picnics on the beach will now be permitted for up to 10 adults, however, beach parties are prohibited while regular religious services such as mass and gatherings are being permitted based on the health department SOPs.
A representative of the Plaisance Catholic Church, Patrice Bijoux, said that "we were already following health measures, but now we need to intensify on its implementation. More emphasis should be placed on hygiene and sitting arrangements to ensure social distancing is maintained.”