COVID curfew to be lifted in Barbados

The end of the curfew on February 14 is one of several indicators that Barbados is moving towards the stage of living with COVID-19 for the long haul.

A new directive will be in place on that day for two weeks. The curfew, which ran from midnight to 5 a.m. daily, the latest of several revisions, will be discontinued.

Minister of Health and Wellness Ian Gooding-Edghill made the announcement during a COVID media conference on Saturday afternoon that was also attended by Chief Medical Officer, The Most Honourable Dr Kenneth George, and head of the COVID Monitoring Unit, Ronald Chapman. He said the changes came after a meeting of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) last Wednesday and were on the recommendation of the CMO.

“The advice of the Emergency Operations Centre has always been based on the science and an acute understanding that we have to embrace economic and social recovery in order to sustain growth and development,” Gooding-Edghill said.

He said the Ministry of Health thinks the Omicron outbreak has peaked and the numbers are falling. Approximately 75 per cent of people tested daily do not have COVID.

Gooding-Edghill later said: “The relaxation of these elements within the directive, while giving more freedom to the population, is by no means a signal that the outbreak is over. The further easing of some restrictions is another step of return to life in Barbados as we used to know and love it.”

Among the changes to the directive include:

The six-feet rule will be discontinued unless people are exercising in groups outdoors, wearing a mask.
Physical distance of three feet is recommended.
Hiking will be allowed in groups of 30 maximum.
Pleasure craft and private boats chartered for private cruises can revert to full capacity.
Proof of vaccination or testing will be required.
Party cruises will be allowed to operate at 100 per cent capacity, subject to proof of vaccination or a rapid antigen test and the presence of an official from the COVID Monitoring Unit.
Cricket at Kensington Oval for the upcoming tour by England will increase from 60 to 80 per cent capacity, for fully vaccinated spectators.
No restriction on beach activity and parks.
PSVs can have full capacity sitting passengers, but none standing.
When the Ministry of Education settles on the return to school, the discussion will commence on the resumption of community events, including sports.
Choirs will also be allowed by practise.

“We are by no means out of this health crisis, but we recognise that we are going to have to live, work and socialise safely in this COVID-19 environment for some time to come,” Gooding-Edghill said.

He urged people to get vaccinated because this “continues to be an integral strategy for getting out of this wave”.

The Minister said Barbados was expecting 120 000 doses of Pfizer vaccines on February 17 and Government was also trying to replenish the Astra Zeneca vaccines on island. (SAT)


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