Grenadians and visitors will have to wait until 2021 to experience the one of a kind Spicemas Carnival celebrations as the Spicemas Corporation (SMC) took the difficult decision to cancel in light of the concerns regarding public health in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The SMC made the announcement today and promised that the extended timeframe will allow for the planning and execution of a bigger and better Spicemas which is usually held in August.
Meantime, the 24-hour curfew implemented across Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique on Tuesday, March 30, in response to Covid-19 continues with three days for essential shopping and opening of select businesses, on a limited basis. Current legislation (up to May 12) requires persons to remain at home other than for essential food shopping, banking, and medical needs as well as other approved merchants and will be reviewed on a weekly basis. All tourism businesses and attractions, the majority of tourism accommodation across the tri-island destination, airports on Grenada and Carriacou, and all ports remain temporarily closed.
As of May 2, Grenada has 21 confirmed cases of Covid-19 (20 on island), with most being imported or import related according to the Grenada Ministry of Health. 13 cases have since been declared medically recovered with seven still active. The Ministry continues proactive contact tracing, screening and testing.
As it relates to port of entry operations, the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation says approval has been granted by the Commissioner of Police on the advice of Cabinet, for un-manned yachts lying in Grenada’s waters, to be hauled up for servicing. The Ministry and Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) continue to engage stakeholders and plan for the post COVID-19 recovery of the Tourism industry.
Additionally, the Government of Grenada announced that more than 700 Grenadians have so far benefitted from the COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Package. The Ministry of Finance has so far processed payroll support payments to benefit 538 employees and income support payments for 196 individuals. To date, the newly established COVID-19 Economic Support Secretariat has received 1,000 applications for income support and 294 applications for payroll support. However, some of these applications have been redirected to other measures within the stimulus package such as unemployment benefits and the small business soft lending facility at the Grenada Development Bank.
Under the stimulus package announced by the Prime Minister on March 20, 2020, one of the measures is intended to avoid layoffs and loss of livelihoods in the tourism sector. The income support is intended for public bus operators, taxi drivers, tourist vendors and other such identified hospitality-based business persons, while payroll support is provided to hotels, restaurants, bars and small travel agents.
In addition to the payroll and income support payments, there are several other measures included in the Government’s stimulus package. These include unemployment benefits initially estimated at $10 million, provided through the National Insurance Scheme; expansion of the small business soft lending facility at Grenada Development Bank and suspension of the monthly advance payment on Corporate Income Tax and installment payment of the Annual Stamp Tax for the period April to June 2020.
In all, Grenada will receive US $22.4 million in emergency support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which will be used to support “macroeconomic stability and facilitate the subsequent economic recovery”.