Last Updated on Thursday, 5 August 2021, 12:45 by Denis Chabrol
Even as Guyana prepares to provide digital COVID-19 cards, the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) on Wednesday appealed to businesses in the hospitality sector to insist on hard-copy existing proof of vaccination along with an acceptable form of vaccination.
“In terms of presenting a picture of the vaccination card or the ID- No! That is not going to be allowed over the next month that this gazette is in effect so we are sticking right now to just the physical (cards),” she said. GTA Director, Carla Vantull told a virtual meeting of owners and managers of restaurants, bars, casinos and cinemas.
She said the Ministry of Health is coming up with a durable COVID-19 vaccination card that would be durable, not easy to replicate and much easier to carry around.
Ms. Vantull added patrons must present their vaccination cards and an official form of identification even if they are dining outside. She said no pictures of the vaccination cards or identification cards would be allowed.
A representative of CAMEX Restaurants asked for pictures of the vaccination cards to be produced because “as it is right now the vaccination card is paper cardboard; it can damage easily and patrons don’t want to walk around with it.”
She told the stakeholders during the meeting that a recent observation of the use of the existing blue vaccination book at the international cricket match at the Providence Stadium had turned up several inconsistencies. “Every card practically was different because they went to different locations, they took different vaccines so… you would see the different stamps that are there. Some people have seals so it varies so we could not basically say that these are key things that you are looking for specifically within that document,” said the GTA Director.
She appealed with the business owners to ensure that patron provide an official form of picture identification to accompany vaccination cards before they are allowed entry to those establishments.
The GTA Director also urged business owners to once again continue wide-scale testing of temperature of patrons and ensure that only four persons are seated at tables even if they are family members. Ms. Vantull said, except when they are eating or drinking, they are required to wear their masks at all times to avoid droplets from spreading while talking.
City businessman and National Security Advisor, Gerry Gouveia urged the GTA to ensure that vaccinated persons are allowed to do business. “People who are vaccinated need to be properly rewarded,” he said.
The GTA intends to create a WhatsApp Group of business owners in the tourism and hospitality sector as well as hold a follow-up meeting.