Corporate Barbados is calling on the Government for greater policing of social activities especially at rumshops and bars in the face of a surge in the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant.
President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Anthony Branker warned on Friday that the individuals who gather at those businesses continue to disregard the public health protocols thereby putting the country at more risk.
“Those individuals are putting Barbadians at risk and the island at risk. And therefore whatever resources are needed to police those types of areas, we are asking the authorities to put the necessary resources in place to stamp out some of the irresponsible activities taking place at some of these places,” Branker told Barbados TODAY.
The Chamber’s head urged all residents to do everything possible to avoid an extension of the longer two-week curfew announced on Thursday by Prime Minister Mia Mottley.
In an address to the nation, the prime minister explained that the spike in COVID-19 cases and the relatively low uptake in vaccinations had prompted her administration to introduce a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew Monday to Saturday and 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Sundays effective this Saturday.
Additionally, she said, in-house dining at fast-food restaurants will cease and team and contact sports and hiking would be prohibited for the next two weeks.
The Prime Minister said even though the situation on the island was not yet at panic level, tougher measures were needed.
But the BCCI president expressed regret that businesses will be adversely affected by the curfew.
“The curfew will regrettably impact businesses. There is no doubt that places like restaurants will be severely affected,” Branker argued.
However, the Chamber president thinks that his membership understands that the country is slowing down for the good of the majority.
“We are hoping that all persons would play their part so we wouldn’t have to go this route again. We are hoping that individuals would take this two-week period to be responsible so that we would not have to look towards a second two-week period,” Branker cautioned.
Looking at the bigger picture, though, Branker expressed appreciation for the efforts being taken by Prime Minister Mottley to mitigate the current viral spread and to protect lives and livelihoods.
“We do understand the need to have persons slow down and take it easy; but we also believe that there should be more policing of some of the activities that go on particularly around places like rum shops and bars where persons are not taking the protocols seriously to the extent that they should,” Branker added.