By Sheena Forde-Craigg
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (Monday, May 23, 2022) — Effective Wednesday, May 25, visitors to the island, who are fully vaccinated, will not be required to have a COVID-19 test for entry; and the wearing of masks outdoors will be optional, Prime Minister, Mia Amor Mottley has announced.
Speaking at a press briefing at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA), yesterday, the Prime Minister said that the decision to change the current entry and health protocols was made, after meeting with officials of the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
“I think that you will appreciate that we’ve always said that we will have a gas and brake approach and, given the declines that we’re seeing, we feel comfortable to make a few changes, again. I have therefore, been advised, by the Ministry of Health, that all persons, who are vaccinated, who are coming into Barbados, will no longer need to come in with any kind of test results.
“So we’re removing testing for vaccinated passengers coming into Barbados. Unvaccinated passengers will still have to test and the Ministry of Health, later this week, will explain further protocols for unvaccinated persons,” the Prime Minister explained.
With regards to mask-wearing, Mottley said: “Outdoor mask-wearing will become optional, but indoors and on public transport, masks will still be required; and there will be no changes at all, to what happens in the school system, so schools will remain as they were….”
She pointed out that though mask-wearing indoors would remain mandatory, persons would be allowed to remove their masks to facilitate eating, drinking and talking.
Prime Minister Mottley noted that Barbados was not the only Caribbean country to make changes to its entry and mask protocols and, any changes made to Barbados’ protocols were done, after careful consideration: “…We’ve started a little later than the rest, … our difficulty was to make sure that when we do it, we are balancing the health and welfare of Barbadians because, at the end of the day, this is the rock that we have.”
The Ministry of Tourism and its marketing department, the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., have been tasked with informing the island’s tourism source markets of the change in entry protocols, and the Ministry of Health and Wellness, along with the Attorney General’s Office, will ensure that the changes, concerning mask-wearing are included in the next Emergency Management directive.