Face-to-face services at churches, mosques and other places of worship across Barbados will be discontinued with immediate effect.
The announcement was made on Saturday, following a meeting of representatives from the Barbados Evangelical Association (BEA), the Barbados Christian Council (BXC) and the Barbados Muslim Association (BMA) with Prime Minister Mia Mottley.
The representatives said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of protecting the health of the country.
The leaders of the three organizations have now called on heads of churches, mosques and other places of worship to revert to virtual services where possible, which would allow members to engage in group interaction without being exposed to contracting the virus.
According to the leadership of the BEA, BXC and BMA – given the current escalation in the spread of COVID-19, it is imperative that all faith-based organizations operate in a manner that supports the initiatives of health authorities in the country and protects the health and safety of their members and their families, many of whom face additional vulnerabilities due to age and other co-morbidities.
They have also called on persons to fully cooperate with public health officials and to exercise patience as they do so.
“This decision has received 100 percent support from our leadership and the Government, and we are satisfied it is in the best interest of the health and safety of our people.
“At the same time, we are admonishing our people to embrace the protocols set out by the Government by ensuring they maintain physical distancing, wear masks when in public and engage in frequent hand sanitizing using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer,” the representatives of the three organizations said in a joint statement.