A COVID-19 monitoring unit set up by the Government of Barbados through the Ministry of Health and Wellness will assist national associations and federations with how to proceed as they look to restart sports on the island.
During an informative session held by the Barbados Volleyball Association last evening at the Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium, czar Richard Carter suggested that presidents of the various national associations follow the guidelines of the Government and proceed cautiously as they recommenced.
Barbados Football Association president Randy Harris raised concerns about resuming especially as it related to the usage of facilities which are operated by the National Sports Council. He added that the BFA has instituted protocols based on the European system but was hoping for a bit more clarity locally.
“I am very concerned about resuming football at this time and my main reason for that is football is played nearly every other week at facilities under the auspices of the National Sports Council. I am not satisfied that my members have the wherewithal either financially or in terms of resources to ensure that these protocols would be set in place. I do not know if the National Sports Council has a policy, I do not know if they are going to assist with sanitising stations, but I am concerned,” Harris said.
In response Carter advised Harris and all those who had similar concerns about restarting to do so incrementally. He said: “Paralyzing yourself is not the appropriate response to the fact that you are faced with a challenge. An assessment of the protocols and the application that has been developed and are available will offer sufficient protection to any sporting organisation that is willing to restart its sporting activity. Two things I will suggest, one you do it incrementally, that is you start with perhaps one division and you manage and see how that goes just as the Government of Barbados has been incremental in its relaxation. So, that is one thing I would suggest that we start incrementally and not just restart everything.
“Secondly, seek the advice and support of the National Sports Council or the Ministry of Health and Wellness in terms of getting them to inspect and if necessary certify the facilities that you are using. One of the most recent things that the Government has done is set up a COVID-19 monitoring unit, where public health officials will be going around assessing the fitness and suitability of various institutions, places of business as well as sports facilities.”
The question was also raised whether associations would need to stop sporting activities if one of the players caught COVID-19. Carter explained that decision would be left up to the Government.
“That determination would be made by the Government unless there was a significant cluster. If a sport turns up positive then the government will state we need to investigate this cluster. But an individual volleyballer or netballer or boxer or track and field athlete getting COVID would not be a reason to close down the sport because it is unlikely that person would have contracted COVID in the actual sporting activity.
“I don’t expect that we are going to be closing down any sport because of one or two cases. I don’t expect that we are going to see a restriction as we have seen in other places. Some places have opened and then had to close back down but because of the way the government of Barbados is approaching it, everyone who comes in is tested, either before they board the plane or on arrival before they go into society,” Carter stated.