Taxi drivers tasked with taking visitors from the island’s main ports of entry to various quarantine centres across the country are being warned against breaching the country’s COVID-19 protocols.
Deputy Director of the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit Allison Elcock revealed that the unit has been receiving reports of some operators making the “critical” error of stopping at businesses prior to the visitors’ quarantine dropoff.
“Protocols can only be effective once there’s compliance. We have received reports of some situations where drivers may not necessarily conform to all of the instructions and one critical area is when you are transporting quarantine guests, that they go directly from the arrival location, whether the seaport or the airport directly to the quarantine facility,” Elcock told Barbados TODAY while at a sensitisation workshop for taxi operators at the Hilton Barbados Resort.
“In some cases, we have received reports where persons may stop at the bank or the supermarket or the pharmacy. People, when they have just landed in Barbados may want to have Banks Beer or whatever beverages to enjoy themselves when they are in quarantine and it is important that those stops not be made and that is one of the areas that we want to reinforce today.
“When quarantine guests are being transported, it is a nonstop express trip to their quarantine facility. The time will be there after quarantine for them to be able to benefit from all of the experiences in Barbados and then there are other systems in place where the property managers of the facilities will ensure that they have access to those things.
“So it is not the role of the driver to facilitate those requests and we want to encourage them to strictly observe that practice of not stopping” the deputy director added.
The training, which has been ongoing for the last eight months, is a collaboration between the unit and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) and included numerous frontline workers in various sub-sectors in the tourism industry.
Manager of Product Development at the BTMI, Terry Vanderpool-Fox revealed that 800 of the island’s over 1400 taxi drivers benefited from Monday’s training that is intended to protect frontline workers and the wider society from becoming infected with the disease.
The BTMI manager however declared that she was “extremely pleased” with the level of compliance and overall progress of taxi drivers, revealing that none of them was identified as having been responsible for in-country transmission of COVID-19.
“If they are linked in any form it is community spread and cluster spread, but certainly our taxi drivers have been extremely careful, they are extremely clean and we have not had any instances of direct spread from taxi driver to visitor as far as the industry is concerned,” said Vanderpool-Fox. (KS)