Barbadians can now look forward to attending fetes once again as Government gives the green light for promoters to have events that are limited to 150 people in one location.
This announcement came from Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who also told the nation during a press conference today that the ongoing curfew will be removed completely from June 30 to allow for greater economic activities to resume.
However, Mottley said though promoters can now start planning regulated events while working closely with the Ministry of Health and Wellness and National Cultural Foundation (NCF), she made it clear that Barbados is not ready for mass events, including Crop Over, which has been cancelled for a second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said: “We are going to take a chance with respect to certain types of activities. It is not practical or possible for us to have our traditional Crop Over event, it isn’t. We haven’t prepared and we don’t have sufficient time to do it properly. Band leaders and costume designers take time. As you know, all like now they would be deep into production if we were having Crop Over in the traditional way.
“We are not ready or comfortable for mass-based events like a carnival. But we do feel like the time has come for us to open up to people who want to free up a bit and who want the opportunity to take a little back seat from the tension of the last six months. And we all know that July is a month that we all associate with taking that little relief in the middle of the year”.
Those persons who will be included in the 150 attending party-related events must be fully vaccinated 14 days prior to the event, or must have a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours, Mottley stressed.
And acknowledging that the pockets of band leaders have been hurt as a result of the pandemic, Mottley announced that mechanisms are being put in place to support these persons who earn a living from the creative sector.
On that note, Mottley explained that band leaders who usually have bands involved in junior and Grand Kadooment, will be given a BDS$10 000 grant, while those who only have one band annually will receive BDS$7 500.
She said the NCF will also be giving BDS$5000 to tent managers while Government will be underwriting the cost of streaming tent-related events through the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to allow the public to “have some fun and enjoyment in their lives”.
Mottley also announced that party promoters will be given BDS$5000 in addition to other assistance with infrastructural costs.
The Prime Minister noted that because of the inability to monitor pleasure craft vessels while at sea, they can only operate dockside and must adhere to all the COVID-19 protocols.
Mottley also announced that Barbados will create a bubble for fully vaccinated passengers from low-risk Caribbean countries, including Dominica, Anguilla, Montserrat, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, Cayman Islands and Bermuda. She indicated that persons from the listed countries arriving in Barbados with a negative PCR rest can immediately enter from June 30.
She said: “We are conscious that our brothers and sisters in St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Lucia are not yet quite at that point. And indeed prior to holding this press conference I spoke to my brother Prime Minister Ralph Gonzales from St Vincent and the Grenadines and we are hoping to have bilateral discussions over the course of the next week to two weeks to see how best we can collaborate on testing, on vaccinations, recognizing also that there is a lot of movement between Barbados and the Grenadines and that they have effectively not had any issues in the Grenadines”.
Government has set a tentative date of July 16 for the resumption of spectators at sporting events, following discussions between the Ministry of Health and relevant sporting agencies, Prime Minister Mottley also indicated. (AH)