With seven deaths in total and just 88 overall confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Barbados, Prime Minister Mia Mottley made the move, and entered Phase 3 of the reopening of its economy on Monday. This followed the island’s suspension of non-essential services in the fight against COVID-19.
In her announcement of the reopening of key Government offices, construction, manufacturing and delivery companies, Prime Minister Mottley made it abundantly clear that a number of mandatory health and safety protocols would be maintained for those businesses reopening. Work requiring human contact would be limited, the wearing of face masks would be mandatory, in addition to increased sanitising of facilities, and the continued practicing of social distancing.
“This plan is about three main things. First and foremost, it is about public health and keeping people safe post-lockdown. Secondly, it is about exiting full lockdown, bringing back activity, and stopping the spread of severe risks to society and security from not doing so. Thirdly, it is about breathing hope and killing despair. It is a plan that engages all of society and makes a subtle shift from command and control to a sense that individuals are doing something positive about their lives, their communities, and the circumstances,” Mottley said.
LIMITED BEACH ACCESS
With the entering of Phase 3, the Prime Minister also announced limited beach access on the island. She said Phase 3 now allows beach access between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 a.m, and again between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. This relaxation of measures comes even as residents remain under curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Prime Minister Mottley explained that Barbados’ key revenue generating industry continues to be tourism and as such, the Government of Barbados is committed to supporting the sector through this critical time.
“Tourism will still be a mainstay of our economy; all different types of tourism from the traditional sun and sea to medical and educational tourism, from new visitors to repeat visitor to those from the diaspora.” – MIA MOTTLEY.
The Government of Barbados says it will partner with the Inter-American Development Bank’s private sector lending arm to create a BDS $200 million Barbados Tourism Facility. The facility will provide support to hotels in need of urgent working capital and give them the opportunity to become more profitable through upgrades, expansion and modernization. It will also focus on lending for good development outcomes such as jobs retention, and to hotels that achieve better integration with local agriculture, use renewable energy, and upskill local staff.
In addition to the lending facility, Prime Minister Mottley announced the resumption of several major construction projects across the island, including the BDS $400 million development at Sam Lords, 75 apartments at the Crane, and BDS $25 million improvements to the Apes Hill Golf Course.