The Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) spokesperson for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Ryan Walters wants to know when the curfews imposed by the Government in response to increasing cases of COVID-19 will end.
Late last Friday, it was announced through the dissemination of a new directive to the media, that Barbados would remain under an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew until August 22.
Walters said the Government owes it to citizens to explain the science and rationale behind the continuation of the curfews, based on where the country is with the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said it is neither fair nor decent to extend the period without an explanation to the public.
Walters said: “Examination of the daily COVID-19 situation reports published by the COVID Communications Unit reveals that the average positivity rate over the last 30 days was 1.03 per cent. This is below the acceptable range identified by the medical professionals, which is between 1.2 per cent and 1.5 per cent. What then is the basis for continuing with the curfews? Is there something else the country must know?”
He queried what it would take for the restriction to be lifted. In a social media post, he asked whether authorities were waiting for a tourist, through international media, to advise others not to travel to Barbados because of the extended curfews.
The Emergency Management (COVID- 19) (Curfew) (NO.14) Directive stated that Barbados will enter a new period of curfew from August 9.
However, Walters contended that with businesses having to close their doors earlier every day, the ripple effect of the curfews is the crippling of households as workers grapple with lower income even as the cost of living increases.
He said while some small businesses are earning less due to the curfews, others are not earning at all and the impact is being felt across the country from the reduced spending.
Walters also noted that the Barbados Statistical Service reported a 17 per cent unemployment rate in March 2021, which puts approximately 22 000 persons in the category of jobless. The spokesperson said a priority of the Government should be to responsibly manage the full reopening of the economy by implementing the necessary protocols with the appropriate tracking and monitoring from the COVID Unit.
“It may also be prudent to allocate more human resources to the COVID Monitoring Unit to enforce compliance,” he suggested.