Scores of beach lovers headed out early this morning to take a long-awaited dip as the ease on COVID-19 lockdown measures took effect.
Beaches reopened at 6 a.m. under limited hours and physical distancing restrictions on a day when the island recorded no new COVID-19 cases and two more patients recovered from the respiratory illness.
At several of the island’s popular white sandy beaches, the jubiliation was evident.
Beachgoers soaked, floated and frolicked in the water or quietly walked the length of the beach, while others played games or exercised.
Professor Emeritus Pedro Welch told Barbados TODAY he was “absolutely delighted” to be at the beach again.
But he argued that while he respected and understood other measures implemented by authorities to prevent the spread of COVID-19, there was no need for a ban on visits to the beach.
He said: “I understand the need for people to be careful, physical distancing and such, but what they needed to do was to come up with some kind of protocol.
In other words, tell me that I can go to the beach but tell me to maintain social distancing, tell me to avoid the crowd and large groups of people but don’t just shut off the beach. I was disappointed.”
Browne’s Beach regular Wendy told Barbados TODAY: “ Words can’t explain it. I am a regular at Browne’s Beach person. I walk every morning, swim every morning, So I really missed the sea. It is glorious.”
“I got here at a quarter to six,” she said with a broad grin before heading out for her sea bath.
Her sentiments were echoed by Deborah who would normally go fishing three times a week.
“It feels great, very much so. I am a beach lover.”
Under phase 2 of continuing COVID-19 measures, the public can visit beaches between 6 to 9 a.m. but they must adhere to a physical distance of at least six metres unless they are with members of the same household.
Despite the three-hour restriction, Deborah said she was willing to accept anything she could get.
“It is better than none at all. You couldn’t come at all for about six weeks,” she said, saying she will be at the beach every three days.
Albert, who lives a stone’s throw away from Browne’s Beach, confessed to feeling like a prisoner because of the lockdown. He suggested Government should consider extending the opening hours.
He told Barbados TODAY: “I’m glad to get out. But I believe they [Government] could give a little more time. The time should be 12 o’clock.
“I feel in Heaven. I am not at work right now, So I love to come to beach on mornings and get my little exercise.”
Fellow beachgoer Sherlock who has also been missing his usual sea baths suggested that the current time restrictions were reasonable as he urged Barbadians to adhere to the instruction of the authorities.
“To be back in the water is wonderful. Six to nine is good, we just hope that 6- 9 a.m is not abused. I hope people can think and adjust accordingly, “ he said.
Beaches on the South Coast including Miami and Worthing were also well populated.