By Sharon Austin
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (BGIS) — There will be a phased reopening of Barbados from Monday, March 1; prime minister Mia Amor Mottley said the gradual reopening was the method government had been advised to take.
“We are reopening slowly because we want to manage the situation… Even with this reopening, we must act responsibly; … continue the protocols of mask-wearing, …washing hands with soap and water or using the hand sanitiser; continue to keep distance where you can,” Mottley told citizens.
The prime minister outlined those businesses reopening from March 1, as follows:
- Construction, all forms of agriculture and farming, fishing, manufacturing, auto mechanics and repair and other categories that will be defined in the directive;
- Hardware stores, appliance stores, farm and gardening stores, plumbing stores, electronics and IT and telephony stores;
- Restaurants and fast-food establishments will be permitted to have curbside pick-ups, drive-through and delivery;
- Administrative offices, professional services, parts and repair operations, and government entities such as the law courts, the registry, post office, the land registry, etc, will reopen, utilising the minimum physical staff necessary to offer a satisfactory level of service to the public. Those persons who can function effectively from home should continue to do so, but those needed at the workplace to dispense product or services in those areas should report for duty.
- Those who work in the public service will continue to be guided by their permanent secretaries, heads of department or CEOs in state-owned enterprises as to what is their appropriate attendance.
Mottley noted that supermarkets will open from Monday to Saturday, but there will be no commercial activity on Sundays in those establishments, hardware stores or any other store for the time being. Gas stations, she added, will open on Sundays, but not their minimarts.
She said that in addition to the existing 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. access to beaches and parks, people would be allowed to exercise and get a sea bath between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m., each day.
She noted, however, that clothing stores, boutiques, hairdressers and barbers were not permitted to operate at this time. “We are going to get to you, but at this time the ministry of health has advised that they would wish to limit it….
“We have observed that several of the operations have become a bit lapse in the PPE requirements; [they] need to redouble their efforts and should use this opportunity to ready themselves for when we are ready to open back up your lines of business,” she stated.
Mottley urged those businesses not reopening on Monday to take the next two weeks to revise their existing protocols and practices, so they would be ready when their turn came. She noted that the operation of gyms, massage parlors, and indoor and outdoor contact sports would be prohibited at this time, as well as the use of pleasure crafts.
“The use of pools in public places is going to be permitted, in hotels and other public areas, but under the supervision of management, who shall share the ultimate responsibility for abuse or disregard of reasonable safety protocols,” she pointed out.