The City’s homeless have been issued with masks, as the Barbados Alliance to End Homelessness (BAEH) moves to protect them from COVID-19.
President Kemar Saffrey told Barbados TODAY the move to distribute the masks was necessary, insisting that the homeless are vulnerable individuals who are a part of society and also engage in activities that require them to interact with others.
Saffrey said: “We will be providing each of the homeless on the streets with masks and we have already supplied about 70 masks to the ones that are living in the shelter at this time and those were donated by Panache island wear.
“We have seen the need for it and now we are going to be supplying the rest of the homeless persons with masks. We are seeking to get some more donated to be able to distribute. We do have the normal dust masks and we are going to give them to keep them safe while they are out there.”
Saffrey said despite pleading with members of the public not to interact with the homeless at this time, he is concerned that there are too many pictures going around showing them breach social distancing guidelines.
He said that even though the intention of some “kind-hearted” individuals is to help the homeless by giving them meals; it is unacceptable that Government’s social distancing protocol to combat the spread of the virus is not being practised.
He told Barbados TODAY: “We are concerned that while we are seeing kind hearted Barbadians going out there and assisting the homeless, we are also concerned about the fact that we are seeing bunching and not the social distancing that needs to be done.
“So, we are asking persons feeding the homeless to at least bring others with them to help with the process of making sure that the social distancing requirements are met. There are not a lot of feeders right now because we are doing the majority of the feeding by distributing about 250 meals per day.
“But we want to make sure that others out there are following the protocol that we are following here while we are conducting our feeding at the shelter. We cannot say in one breath that we are doing something good but then we are not following the social distancing rules.”
Authorities confirmed this week that the virus which has killed thousands globally is now at community spread stage.
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