Head of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) Edward Clarke does not believe there is a need for a national lockdown – yet, he said Wednesday.
But he added that if health authorities fail in their efforts to control the spike of COVID-19 cases, then he would be open to the move which he believes must be well thought out.
His comments have come in the wake of calls for a full lockdown of the island with over 200 COVID-19 cases being recorded in the space of two days.
On Monday, prominent physician Dr Adrian Lorde called for a full-scale lockdown to bring the situation under control.
But in an interview with Barbados TODAY, Clarke said Government needed to play a delicate “balancing act” when it came to the issue of another lockdown.
He said: “There are health experts who would feel that way. I think if you consider this from a health situation most people would say so, but if you are looking at it from a national situation where you have to keep a country afloat and keep people employed and keep this country going you need to balance the situation.
“That’s why I’m saying it’s important that we try to find out where we are and it’s important that Government keeps us informed on a daily basis where there is an increase of COVID-19 cases,” Clarke pointed out.
“Government must be assessing this daily or more often than that I would imagine. There is no doubt that there is a clamour for people to want to have a shutdown and we need to access the situation on a daily basis and see what’s going to happen. If the results are not what we would like them to be as a country, I think as a country we would need to get together with the Social Partnership and decide if it needs to be reassessed and move on from there.
“I don’t think the Government feels that is necessary at this time and we await further instructions and results from the testing.”
Clarke said while businesses would have been badly affected by the two bank holidays on Monday and Tuesday, the private sector was in full support of the decision.
While he could not say if health authorities have the situation under control, he believed the bank holidays were necessary to give them time to address the problem.
He told Barbados TODAY: “We all know that anytime it closes it’s going to have a negative impact on business, but as I’ve said it is critical that we try and get the health of the nation back under control and the private sector is fully supportive of the Government closing businesses in the last two days to try and get us back under control. It is imperative that that be done and we fully support closing during that period to try and balance the situation.
“We’ve been closed for a period of time so the health authorities have had time to try and get us under control.
“I’m not saying that we are under control, I think we need to await what updates the health authorities will give out this evening or sometime soon.”
Clarke said he was not in a position to determine if additional bank holidays were needed to give health authorities more time.
“I can’t determine that. I think that we have the health experts that need to determine that and I believe that Government is doing its utmost to try and work and manage and balance the situation at this time. If things get out of control then we need to relook and rethink what we are doing…but it is early days still and I think we need to be patient and understand what they are trying to do and wait and see what is going to happen,” he said.
“I am not jumping in there to make any assessment of whether or not the first two days is enough at this stage.” ([email protected])