Barbados Relaxes COVID-19 Restrictions as Commercial Sector Reopens

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Barbados’ commercial and retail sectors, including restaurants and bars, are set to reopen from Monday, while the daily curfew has been shortened, as Government relaxes COVID-19 restrictions.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley also announced during an address to the nation over the weekend that from March 21, churches will once again be able to welcome worshippers, though only a limited number, while adhering to all physical distancing protocols.

The curfew will now start at 9:00 pm instead of 7:00 pm and will run until 6:00 am.

“We are still keeping Sunday as a day closed from supermarkets and commercial and other retail stores, until further notice. But against that background, however, we are agreeing that those persons, and those businesses that need to work, with the exception of just a few, will be allowed to resume work from March 15,” the prime minister said.

Those allowed to reopen their doors include hairdressers; barbers; aestheticians; fast food restaurants for drive-thru and pick-up only; restaurants for in-house dining, with distancing protocols being observed; bars, but no congregating allowed; nurseries and daycare centres, but all protocols must be followed.

To facilitate the return to work by residents, the prime minister also announced that public health officials had extended the 60 percent restriction on public service vehicles to 75 percent, with the wearing of masks still being mandatory.

Meanwhile, the number of those who may attend church, weddings and funerals now stands at a maximum of 75, with persons maintaining a six-foot radius in accordance with the social distancing protocols. Funerals and weddings being held at a venue other than a church will be limited to 25.

“We are sensitive and conscious that especially in difficult times, people need to have an anchor…. I am satisfied that the churches and the priests with whom we have spoken will adhere to the protocols, and therefore, we are taking the chance,” Prime Minister Mottley said, noting that Government would continue to work with the Barbados Christian Council and the Evangelical Association to manage the situation.

However, wedding receptions are still prohibited, and not everyone will be allowed to reopen on Monday.

Mottley outlined that gyms; pleasure craft, whether chartered or privately owned; nightclubs; cinemas and theatres were still not permitted to reopen.

“The medical fraternity and public health personnel, believe that the risk is still too high,” she explained.

And, while non-team or non-combative sports will be allowed, Mottley said the resumption of sporting activities such as cricket, football and volleyball will remain on pause for another few weeks.

“It means that those sports, for example, road tennis or lawn tennis or diving… golf, or walking or hiking, those things will be permitted, but anything involving team sports, or any kind of contact will not be permitted at this stage.

“The only two non-team sports that will not be permitted will be squash and table tennis, because of the size of the court,” she explained.

However, exercise times and beach access for persons remain from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

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