The door will remain firmly closed to gyms, pleasure cruises, and other businesses which have not been allowed to re-open as yet under the current COVID-19 emergency directives. But the Prime Minister on Wednesday asked the firms, among the most hardest hit by the pandemic to “hold firm as Government continues a slow and steady approach towards easing public restrictions.
Mottley told journalists that COVID numbers are looking better as the positivity rate continues to decline over the last several weeks. But she said these numbers are still not currently at a comfortable level for the administration.
The PM said: “We want to get not more than 25 new COVID cases per 100,000; we may not get exactly there, but the mere fact that we have moved from 113 cases for the two weeks before the last two weeks, which would be the beginning of March, to 66.8 cases for the last 2 weeks of March tells us that we are trending in that direction.
“We made the directive possible for the persons who are in the same gyms to be able to do outside work because you can exercise from 6 in the morning to 6 in the evening. This has nothing to do with the beaches or parks; the beaches and parks are 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. but there is nothing, far from the AG [Dale Marshall] made it possible that you can actually go outside and train.”
With the numbers still not low enough for public health officials, Mottley said indoor gym activities and pleasure cruising could not be practically allowed.
She added: “The notion of people heaving and hoeing within small spaces, you can’t really do that with a mask on easily. In fact I think that would put pressure on a person doing that with a mask, so unless the outside, which it can be, it is going to be difficult,
“In public health what have they said in all of the literature, shut down sharp, open back up gradually because you do not want to compromise the opportunities you have to keep on the straight and narrow.”
The Prime Minister also acknowledged that she has not ruled out staging this year’s Crop Over festival, but stressed that the only practical way for the festival and other large scale events to get the go-ahead, is for herd immunity to be reached on the island.
“The reality is if we get herd immunity by a certain time, then all things will be considered, but to get herd immunity means 60 – 70 per cent of our population needs to be vaccinated. Right not there has been a very generous demand on the part of Bajans to take it, but the bottom line is we have a slight pause because we need some more [vaccines] in order to be able to continue the vaccinations at pace.” (SB)