BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, June 12, 2020 (CMC) – The Barbados government took another step towards the complete re-opening of the country’s economy, with the lifting of various restrictions, from Monday, including the lifting of the seven-hour curfew.
Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, in a radio and television broadcast, last night, announced that she would be meeting with the various stakeholders, next week, to discuss the reopening of the air and seaports to international traffic.
She disclosed that various aspects of the local economy, which had been shut down as a result of the efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), will become functional, from next Monday.
She said all aspects of work will resume, gyms will re-open, and permission may be given for events of 250 people or less.
In addition, Prime Minister Mottley said that public service vehicles will now operate at full capacity, and sporting activities that will be limited to a pre-determined number of spectators, could resume.
But while she revealed that the restrictions on parks and beaches have also been lifted, day care centers would have to wait an additional week, before they would be allowed to reopen, on June 22.
The Prime Minister said the previous curfew — from 10.00 p.m. to 5.00 a.m. (local time) from Monday to Friday — had been lifted; while a 10.00 p.m. to 5.00 a.m. curfew would now be instituted on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Mottley said, while the country had to be reopened at some point, it was mainly about managing risk, and that she was also pleased by the behaviour and practices of Barbadians.
Barbados has, so far, recorded 96 COVID-19 cases and seven deaths.
“I think we would all agree, that things are panning themselves out…we cannot minimize errors, by postponing decisions. There is no logical reason, therefore, to keep workers in Barbados from their workplace, any further,” Mottley said.
“We have established stringent protocols and, for the most part, these have been followed and honoured by the workforce of Barbados; and I have every confidence in my people to walk the line,” the Prime Minister stated, during a live televised statement.
Mottley said she understood that with all public and private sector entities being given the green light to reopen, there was a need to address the issue of child care. However, she said the need for additional training and for the Ministry of Health to finalize protocols, meant those businesses could not reopen, just yet.
“Something like day care centers are a special case and require special consideration, as I pointed out to you, two weeks ago. With all businesses reopening, we recognise that there has to be adequate provision for childcare.
“And while all schools are not fully opened and all day care centers have been closed, thus far, we believe, that by permitting them to reopen, it will assist, considerably, given those who have to go back to work,” Mottley told the nation.
“Because however, we want a sense of appropriate training and protocols to be adhered to, by all, and because of the risk of not so adhering, that it is so great, we are asking that those daycare centers reopen from June 22, as opposed to June 15, to give officials in the Ministry of Health the appropriate time, not just to share the protocols with them, but to do any fine-tuning and checking and training, as is required.”
Prime Minister Mottley said, despite the re-opening of the economy, persons will still be required to follow the strict health guidelines, including social distancing and the wearing of masks, which is mandatory.