All businesses in Barbados will close from 8:00 tonight, Saturday, March 28, until 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14, while a curfew goes into effect from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. daily, over the same period.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Dale Marshall, stressed that these measures were being implemented under the Emergency Management (COVID-19) Curfew Directive, 2020, in an effort to protect residents against the spread of COVID-19.
“The statistic is that around one quarter of the countries in the world, or quarter of the world’s population is in a state of lockdown. So, that is all based on the notion that keeping people apart is the way in which to prevent COVID-19 from spreading,” he stated, during the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation’s News Night Special last night.
He noted that there was a misconception that there would only be a curfew and businesses would continue to operate as normal. But, he stressed: “Not at all. We want employees to stay at home; we want customers to stay at home; we want businesses to close, and therefore, under the regime, that will start on Saturday night,” he stressed, noting that schools were already closed.
That he said, would include businesses such as hardware stores, snow cone, fruit, vegetable vendors, spas, nail salons and others not offering essential or vital services to residents’ survival over the next two weeks.
Under the Emergency Management Curfew Directive 2020, only essential services and businesses deemed necessary will be allowed to remain open. Those are, but are not limited to:
- The Royal Barbados Police Force
- The Barbados Defence Force
- The Barbados Fire Service
- Security Services
- Utility and telecommunications companies
- Medical and paramedical personnel
“The State still has to be able to provide essential services. The police still have to work, the [Barbados] Defence Force has to work, all of the medical personnel and paramedical personnel, they still have to have responsibilities to the State. So, there’s a whole raft of activity that has to continue. We can’t function without it. Those things we loosely defined as essential services,” he explained.
Similarly, the Attorney General also highlighted that there were a number of businesses that should be allowed to open for Barbados to have minimal functionality as citizens, and would therefore be exempted from closing.
- Grocery stores, village shops and supermarkets
- Gas stations
- Abattoirs, butcher shops and fish markets
- Hotels, villas and rental accommodations (at a limited functionality)
- Restaurants for the purposes of drive through and take away only
- Cook shops and pudding and souse vendors (buy and take away only)
- Banks and credit unions
- Transportation services
“Having decided that all businesses will close, we also consider it important for Barbadians to be able to live as human beings and have some minimal functionality as citizens …. So, the exemptions you will notice are pretty much located around food and necessary supplies, abattoirs, butcher shops, fish markets, they provide our protein … and therefore we’re allowing them to continue,” he explained.
However, he reminded Barbadians that the mission at this time was about preventing the spread of COVID-19. “If you begin at that position, the rest of it follows more or less logically. We know that COVID-19 is spread by human to human contact to one sort or another. And therefore, there’s no doubt and I am reliably advised by Dr. Best and others that the way in which we are going to be able to stem the spread of COVID-19 is by reducing drastically human to human contact,” he said, making reference to international countries now on lockdown for similar reasons.
The Attorney General also urged Barbadians to move away from their touchy, feely” nature at this time, recognizing that social distancing was not about being anti-social, but about preventing the spread of the virus.
For a full list of guidelines under the shutdown, please visit the Barbados Government Information Service’s website www.gisbarbados.gov.bb.