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Impact Assessment of the COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis and Responses on Vulnerable Groups in the Caribbean

With varying levels of border controls and in-country mobility restrictions that characterize the response to the ongoing pandemic in the Caribbean, industrial and other productive activities came to a sudden halt or experienced reduced or virtual operations, resulting in increased unemployment, supply chain disruption, and decreased revenues for governments. Without the availability of a vaccine, ongoing mitigation and containment measures will likely be in place for months to come, though these are being continuously updated and modified. In the meantime the impacts of the crisis continue to deepen for the most vulnerable groups including informal sector workers who may not benefit from unemployment support grants; children whose education has been disrupted for several months; the poor who already live on the margins of indigence and are hindered from earning income; women and girls who are disproportionately burdened due to gender constructs associated with females and care roles; micro and small business owners struggling with increasing debt, liquidity challenges and risk of closure; youth who experienced high unemployment pre-COVID-19 are now likely to struggle with increasingly limited work opportunities and decreased ability to afford and or continue secondary and higher education. The research being conducted focuses on the impacts of the pandemic and response on these groups across a range of areas, including social protection, financial and non-financial support. The intended outcome is a prioritized policy agenda to inform government and development partners of measures that could be useful in mitigating against the socio-economic impacts of this pandemic response, and crises to come, for vulnerable groups in the Caribbean.