Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 18, 2020 (Press Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister): Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris announced today, Friday, May 22nd, 2020, that churches throughout St. Kitts and Nevis will open their doors again for worship on Saturday and Sunday, starting this weekend between the hours of 7:00am and 5:00pm.
“There will be conditions, of course, as we continue to seek to protect our people,” Prime Minister Harris said, adding: “I am advised that the conditions and protocols surrounding the resumption of corporate worship have already been conveyed to the Church leadership.”
In his address to the nation at 4:30pm, the Prime Minister said members of the National COVID-19 Task Force had been meeting with the Christian Council, the Evangelical Association and faith leaders across St. Kitts and Nevis over the past two weeks.
“They have had discussions on the manner in which religious freedom, public health and infection prevention can work together,” the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis said.
Prime Minister Harris went on to disclose that, “Yesterday, Cabinet received a report on the consultations. We learnt that the consultations have all been very productive and the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Laws and her team are satisfied that, if protocols were to be adhered to, we can return to worship safely in our churches.”
“I am so happy about this, as churches are crucial to our lives,” Prime Minister Harris also said.
The Prime Minister continued: “COVID-19 required restrictions be put in place to protect the Church membership and the wider society. I thank the churches for their outstanding cooperation to date.”
Speaking later in the day at the National Emergency Operations Center’s COVID-19 Daily Briefing, the Reverend Canon P. Allister Rawlins addressed members of the public, saying: “I exhort you, that when your place of worship is opened, that you must observe all the protocols, including proper sanitizing on entrance and exit, the observance of social and physical distancing, the wearing of your masks during the entire service, etc., etc.”
The representative of the St. Kitts Christian Council and the St. Kitts Evangelical Association added: “The onus, then, will be on all worshippers to cooperate with your pastors, to ensure that order prevails. We do not wish for any infringements of the protocols, nor do we wish to see any external enforcement. We must therefore police ourselves.”