COVID-19 outbreaks wreak havoc in public and private sectors

The recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Antigua and Barbuda continues to wreak havoc among the public and private sectors in the country

Several government departments as well as private sector companies have been forced to close to the public for varying periods as they deal with possible COVID-19 cases among their respective staff members.

The latest to join the growing list of entities forced to close because of COVID-19 is the Customs and Excise Division, which took a decision to immediately close its headquarters Thursday. 

“Acting on information of a suspected case of COVID-19, the building was closed to members of the public and cleared of all officers and employees to facilitate an intensive programme of cleaning and sanitization,” a release from the division explained. 

It added that the decision was taken out of an abundance of caution as part of the standard operating procedures that were activated since the onset of the pandemic. 

“The officers of the Customs and Excise Division have steadfastly committed to their duties during this period of crisis, functioning at great risk to ensure the country’s economic survival at this trying time. 

“The adherence to protocols is to ensure that the safety of our dedicated officers and members of the public are assured,” it continued. 

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance has been advised the Customs headquarters will curtail operations from today. 

Over the past week, several financial institutions, a fast-food outlet, as well as several government departments, including the APUA branch in the Village Walk mall and the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority, have had to curtail operations because of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has announced plans to limit the flow of traffic to its office. The IRD is advising the public that there are drop box services available at Woods and English Harbour for some services and that tax payments may now be done online. 

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