Acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw during her address to the nation. (GP)
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A mandatory quarantine period for all visitors, restrictions on when to leave home, a ban on the sale of liquor and a change in the operating hours of all essential businesses are among the measures acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw announced in an address to the nation on Wednesday night.
Stopping short of a virtual “lockdown”, Bradshaw said this toughening of the restrictions was in direct response to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases from 34 to 45 because people had failed to heed the call by Prime Minister Mia Mottley just five days ago to stay at home.
At the time, Mottley announced an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, the closure of all non-essential businesses and mandatory quarantine for all visitors from the United States and United Kingdom.
“These measures were all intended to reduce the amount of person-to-person contact and exposure of the population and so reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19. They were designed to protect us all,” Bradshaw said.
“And while we have been heartened by the response of the majority of Barbadians to these restrictions, we have also witnessed a significant number who have ignored them and have continued to put themselves, their families and the entire country at risk.
“And this reckless and irresponsible behaviour has continued in spite of the warnings from the COVID-19 Czar [Richard Carter] on Monday, that the Government of Barbados was prepared to further extend and strengthen the restrictions should this behaviour continue,” she added.
Bradshaw said Government was provided with several models by epidemiologists and public health specialists at the University of the West Indies which showed the projected development of COVID-19 in Barbados.
“We do not like what those models tell us regarding the extent of sickness and death that is likely, in light of the behaviour we are seeing across this country”.
Bradsaw said anyone who contravenes the following directives “without reasonable explanation” could spend a year in jail, be subject to a fine of $50 000 or both, if convicted under the Emergency Management (COVID-19) Order, 2020.
The acting Prime Minister announced several measures which include:
A mandatory 14-day quarantine in a Government facility for all persons entering Barbados.
From April 3, 2020 until midnight April 14, 2020 all non-essential services shall remain closed.
The exceptions are as follows:
- Abattoirs, butchers’ shops and fish markets will open between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- Bakeries will open between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Farms will open between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- Pharmaceutical manufacturers, manufacturers of juices, soft drinks and dairy products, food processors and food distributors will open between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- Only automatic teller machines will be in operation at banks and credit unions.
- Cleaning services will operate between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
- Fuel manufacturers, fuel storage facilities and fuel distributors will open between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- Pharmacies, wholesale and retail grocery stores, mini-marts and village shops will open between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Gas stations will operate between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- Delivery services relating to groceries and medical supplies will operate between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- Hotels, villas and other rental accommodation, excluding gaming rooms, spas, gyms and discos and restaurants, will operate only for take-away and room service.
- Sugar factories will operate for the entire day.
- Private veterinary services will operate as needed.
- From 6 p.m. on April 3, 2020 all government ministries, departments and statutory corporations will close until 6 a.m. on April 15, 2020.
- Only those public services designated as essential services will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and only those employees deemed to be essential may go to the office. All other staff shall remain at home. The list of public services will be published by the Barbados Government Information Service.
- Owners and operators of businesses shall restrict the number of people inside or outside to ensure a distance of six feet is maintained between people.
- Places of worship may only open to conduct funerals and weddings and for the streaming of services. Only three people, including the officiant, may be present for the latter.
In addition, no person may host or attend a private party; a recreational or competitive sporting event; a wedding other than the bride, bridegroom, official witnesses and the marriage officer; a banquet, ball or reception; any social event or meeting of a fraternal society, private or social club, civic association or organisation.
Only one person at a time may visit a patient at the QEH.
Restrictions were also imposed on visits to public places.
No person shall transmit video or audio or identify any person in quarantine or isolation.
Visits to Her Majesty’s Prison Dodds and Government Industrial Schools have been cancelled.
Private businesses and offices may only continue operations if employees can work exclusively from home.
All parks and beaches will be closed.
No more than ten mourners, one officiant, one funeral director and the necessary funeral staff will be allowed at a funeral.
Only one person at a time can visit a patient at a hospital, nursing home, maternity home or an addiction/drug treatment facility.
No one should leave home unless they need to purchase food or medicine, to seek medical or dental attention, to do banking or work in an essential service or business that is exempt.
Only three people or fewer, who are not of the same household shall remain outdoors unless they are in the “curtilage of their residence”.
No more than five persons in a family can congregate outside except on their property.
The sale of liquor is banned.