Effective Monday, Barbadians are to see another ease of the Public Health State of Emergency Restrictions which were implemented since March to combat the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, Attorney General Dale Marshall said this evening.
The AG outlined a number of changes to increase business activity next week and lead to more people working and commuting.
Some of the major changes are: all retail stores will be opened, the curfew hours from Monday to Thursday have been decreased, the alphabet shopping system suspended and churches will be allowed to increase the number of worshippers.
In addition, on Tuesday parks and beaches will now be opened from normal working hours but no picnics are allowed.
The AG told a press conference at Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre that restaurants will be opened for in-house dining but they will be subjected to certain guidelines which are still being finalised.
Marshall said the 24-hour curfew is still in effect and urged Barbadians to only leave their homes when it is absolutely necessary.
The chief legal advisor said: “When we talk about freedom, freedom to move it is limited. You are only allowed to be outside of your premises for the purpose of doing those things that are permitted. To avoid the spread of COVID we have to limit human to human contact.”
“Unless you are an essential worker you must stay at home. That is where we begin. We also understand that Barbadians have to have an opportunity to buy food, to go to the pharmacy, to go to the doctor and to do a wide range of things. Over time we have extended that range of things. This weekend, there were some motorcyclists who went before the court, they were doing their wheelies or whatever it is in the Lears area.
There is nothing in the directive that says you can go to Lears or anywhere and mess around with your motorcycle so obviously they were operating in breach of that principle that underpins this entire thing.”
Here are the changes which will take effect Monday, at a glance:
· Curfew hours Monday to Thursday between the hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and Friday to Sunday 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
· All remaining retail operators will be allowed to open. These openings are subject to strict compliance with the various health protocols.
· The shopping-by-alphabet system has been suspended.
· Additional services are allowed to operate: photo studios/photography, real estate agents, car rental companies, animal grooming and handling, trucking and other transport of goods, storage, car valet services, well cleaning and recycling businesses.
· Churches and other faith-based organisations will be allowed to conduct services.
They must adhere to the density protocol. They will be allowed to open only on the basis that they can allocate, in the sanctuary, a minimum of 40 square feet per person. Attendance registers must be taken to facilitate contact tracing. Persons with a temperature higher than the requirement will not be allowed in. There will be a special directive dealing with churches.
· Restaurants will be allowed to open for dining in. Specific densities are yet to be finalised. If you are in a family you will not be subject to the same physical distancing protocol of being six feet apart.
· Bars are to remain closed.
· From Tuesday, restrictions regarding beach access will be lifted between 5 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., subject to physical distancing. No more than groups of three unless in the same family.
· No picnics are allowed
· Public parks will open under usual hours subject to social distancing requirements. This includes Botanical Gardens, Andromeda Gardens, Hunte’s Gardens, flower forest etc.
· Logistics on larger gatherings going forward for the purpose of meeting are being finalised. (IMC)