COVID-19: Vendors Balk At Moving To Pointe Seraphine

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

Vendors have hesitated to accept a Tourism Ministry invitation to operate from the approved Pointe Seraphine duty-free shopping complex amid COVID-19 concerns, citing logistical and other considerations.

Instead, the vendors would like the Vendors Arcade and the Castries Craft Market where they currently operate to become COVID-19 certified.

“We want the vendors to make some money but as you can imagine the cruise ships will not agree for passengers to just go to the Vendors Arcade which is an open space where everybody is assembling. So we are saying to the vendors – we cannot control that space but we will give you a space at Pointe Seraphine and those who are vaccinated can sell there,” explained Tourism Minister Dr. Ernest Hilaire.

“We can say to the cruise ships this is a managed area with vaccinated vendors – no outside people are mingling with your passengers,” Hilaire told reporters.

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But he disclosed that some vendors do not agree with the initiative and want to stay in the Vendors Arcade.

And the Minister observed that Saint Lucia could not get the cruise ships to allow their passengers to go to the arcade in Castries.

“It is an open public space and the passengers are vaccinated and have a negative COVID so they are fearful that if they visit an open space and come back on the ship they don’t know who they have interacted with,” Hilaire stated. He also indicated that the Ministry is trying to address the problem.

Nevertheless, the President of the Vendors Association, Peter ‘Ras Ipa’ Isaac said the vendors would prefer COVID-19 certification for the Vendors Arcade and the Castries Craft Market.

Isaac told St Lucia Times that the vendors are not going to Pointe Seraphine because they believe they already have a good facility.

“To go into Pointe Seraphine would be ten vendors at a time and how long will that take to accommodate maybe 200 vendors from the Craft Market and the Vendors Arcade? So some vendors it will take them the whole season before they get an opportunity to even go and sell with ten vendors per cruise day,” he disclosed.

“It’s a difficult task in terms of the logistics. Who will comprise the first ten, the second and so on?”

Additionally, Isaac said if only vaccinated vendors can move, it will become a contentious matter.

“What is wrong with certifying the facility that the venders are already in so that people can come there, the place can adhere to protocols and the vendors can get an opportunity to get money?” He observed.

According to Isaac, vendors need to know what the authorities require for the Vendors Arcade and the Castries Craft market to become COVID-19 certified.

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