Businesses across Barbados are getting two thumbs up from customers, who say they are satisfied they have strict protocols in place and are enforcing them.
However, some of the customers told Barbados TODAY they were eager to see the measures in place become a thing of the past and things return to the way they were before the deadly health pandemic, which started to affect the island in March 2020.
In order to enter a business establishment, individuals are required to form a line outside of that business and stay at least six feet apart. Upon entering they are mandated to have their temperatures taken, sanitize their hands, wear a mask covering the mouth and nose and record their name and contact information in a log book for contract tracing purposes if required.
When a Barbados TODAY team visited a number of businesses across the island this week, it was observed that the strict COVID-19 protocols were being enforced, and various brightly coloured notices were visibly displayed, informing customers of the measures they needed to take to help prevent the spread of the virus.
At the Sheraton Mall in Christ Church, several patrons lauded the businesses there for ensuring the protocols were in place and for enforcing them.
“My experience is that every single store you go in you have to write your name, telephone number, you have to get your temperature [taken] and you sanitize [your hands]. Every store in Sheraton, even when you go in through the [main] door, so I think they are taking it the protocols seriously,” said Heather Bancroft, who had just completed an errand at the mall.
However, she wants all residents to adhere to the wearing of masks even when they are not entering an establishment and are simply entering a space where other people are.
“I recognize sometimes people are not adhering to the protocols, but basically, most people are adhering. My advice would be to continue to do that and the ones who are not doing it to try really hard to do it. It is a difficult thing because the mask is not really comfortable, but you know you have to so do it,” said Bancroft.
Wade Forde told Barbados TODAY he too was happy with the protocols that businesses had in place, adding that all of them were necessary especially the recording of the contact information, which could help authorities catch any positive case through contact tracing before it is too late.
“I think businesses are doing what they can and it is good. You sanitize before you go in and you work
to suit. I have no problem. I think it is best to be safe than sorry,” said Forde, adding that the protocols
were pretty much the same across all the businesses he visited.
“Some people definitely are asking for your contact information. It is for contact tracing, which is a good thing because if somebody comes down with it [COVID-19], they can call you and you come and get checked. It is best to be safe than sorry. All businesses are doing their part and I have no problem,” he said.
Following an unexpected spike in positive COVID-19 cases in the local population towards the end of last month, authorities announced tightened measures as they embarked on extensive and “aggressive” contact tracing.
Since the discovery of a number of local cases, however, more than a dozen businesses from a range of industries have announced over the past two weeks that they were temporarily closing out of caution, as they indicated that one or several of their employers had come into contact with a known positive COVID-19 case.
Livingston Stuart, who was waiting in line outside a business at the Sheraton Mall, told Barbados TODAY he was “pretty satisfied” that businesses were doing what they were supposed to when it came to having COVID-19 measures in place and enforcing them.
However, he quickly pointed out that he was eager to see every individual playing a greater role in stemming the spread of the virus, adding that “the sooner everybody comes on board, the sooner the country could reopen so that we can get more economic activities going”.
Over at The Walk at Welches shopping mall
in St Thomas, several customers also shared their feelings on how businesses were handling the COVID-19 situation.
One couple, who would only give their names as Patricia and Victor, told Barbados TODAY every business they visited they had to sanitize their hands, have their temperature taken and have on their masks correctly before they could enter.
One man who gave his name as Reco, said he realized some businesses across the country were
still not enforcing the protocols as they should, but pointed out that he believed the situation has been improving slowly especially since the spike in local positive cases.
“Some follow the protocols to a ‘T’ and some don’t because you could walk in without sanitizing. I witnessed a couple places where people would walk in without sanitizing and they do what they came to do. It is a risk. They should have been following the protocols but it is as if they didn’t care. So a lot of people were still not paying attention and following the protocols. But I think people are now paying closer attention to the COVID response. It is happening slowly,” he said.
Reco said he was concerned about how the pandemic continued to take a toll on businesses, adding that he was longing to see things return to normal.
“There have been a lot of layoffs, you have businesses shutting down. It is a go slow for everybody right now. To look at business in general over the past few weeks, the COVID had a lot of them shutting down so that staff can get COVID tests, and then the curfew change the whole experience of shopping and eating,” he said.