Bridgetown: Barbados will relax its curfew from 12 am to 5 am on February 14, allowing for the resumption of various leisure activities for the island’s residents on ‘Valentine’s Day’.
Ian Gooding-Edghill, Minister of Health and Wellness, made the announcement at a COVID-19 update and press conference at Ilaro Court on Saturday.
“The curfew will be lifted in order to return the country to normalcy while according to protocol. As a result, the curfew will be abolished as of Monday, February 14th, which also happens to be Valentine’s Day. On this particularly special day, I’m sure restaurants and other permitted dining facilities will wish to properly respond to the ‘pent up’ demand of Barbadians and guests. Patrons will no longer have to keep an eye on the clock,” according to the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS).
The Minister stated, according to the BGIS:
Except when people exercise together outside without wearing a mask, the six-foot requirement for separation will no longer apply. The physical distance of at least three feet will apply in all other circumstances.
Hiking will also be permitted in groups of no more than 30 people.
Pleasure vessels and private boats rented for private voyages will increase their passenger capacity from 50% to 100% of their authorised capacity. Prior to boarding, proof of immunisation or testing will be requested.
Party cruises will be authorised to run at 100% capacity, subject to confirmation of vaccination and a Rapid Antigen Test, as well as the presence of a COVID Monitoring Unit officer on board all cruises.
Gooding-Edghill said cricket capacity at the Kensington Oval for the upcoming international tournaments would increase from 60% to 80%, fully vaccinated, citing public health officials’ statements that these outdoor open air events would not pose a significant threat to public health if the protocols were followed.
Additionally, the prior 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ban on beach activity and parks will no longer apply, allowing Barbadians and visitors alike to enjoy these facilities without restriction.
Additionally, public transportation vehicles will be permitted to increase the authorised number of seating passengers from 75% to 100% while wearing masks. They will not, however, be permitted to transport standing passengers.
In response to the problem of kids returning to school, the Health Minister stated that after the Ministry of Education [Technical and Vocational Training] had decided on this, his ministry would consider a timetable for the safe return of community-based events, such as athletic events. He stated that this would be completed in a matter of weeks.
Gooding-Edghill advised Barbadians, however, that while the Directive’s easing of certain features provided more freedom, it was “by no means a signal that the outbreak is gone.”
“The further relaxing of some limitations is another step toward returning to life in Barbados as we knew and loved it,” he said. “Personal responsibility is vital to the protection of yourself, your family, and your coworkers.” These actions of national relief should ideally result in a significant reduction in tension and worry among the public. It is vital that everyone in Barbados follows the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ guidelines and protocols.”
Ian Gooding-Edghill, Minister of Health and Wellness (Photo courtesy of the Office of the Prime Minister)