Snow cone, coconut, roadside, fruit and vegetable vendors are not included in the list of businesses allowed to operate when businesses close from 8:00 tonight, as Government moves to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Only businesses deemed necessary will be exempt from the mandatory shutdown of enterprises across Barbados from 8:00 p.m. today, Saturday, March 28, until 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Dale Marshall, sought to make this point clear as he fielded questions during the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation’s News Night Special on the Stage 3 Covid-19 protocols, last night.
He was joined by Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic; acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Anton Best; and COVID-19 Czar, Richard Carter; for an hour-and-a-half long session to explain how the process would work to the public.
The Attorney General sought to explain some of the measures being implemented under the Emergency Management (COVID-19) Curfew Directive, 2020.
“Our priority is on keeping Barbadians safe, and in order to do that, we have to reduce the number of people on the road. And we will make exemptions if it relates to vital things,” he said, noting they were prepared to make exemptions in appropriate cases.
However, coconut, roadside, snow cone, fruit and vegetable vendors do not fall into that category.
“We always have to consider what is the proximity risk that is associated with these things. I am happy to discuss it, but I think that is a proximity with the person who is purchasing snow cones and is probably a proximity risk to several other kinds of enterprises,” he said.
He reiterated that food enterprises that would be allowed were wholesale and retail grocery stores, mini marts, village shops, and these are allowed to open between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Mr. Marshall further noted that courier services bringing in medical supplies, such as personal protective equipment and medical supplies, or a freight forwarder bringing in ventilators, which were needed by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, would also be allowed to operate within specified times.
“Those are our priorities at this point in time. We certainly have enough food on the island to last a few months. So, if somebody decides they are going to order a pack of chocolates on Amazon, we’re not interested in that,” he pointed out.
He added that it was determined that agriculture was important to the continuity of residents, and therefore exemptions were provided in that area to allow farmers to tend their land and deal with their animals.
Similarly, he said feed manufacturers were also excluded from the curfew to allow farmers to have access to feed for their livestock, while hotels and restaurants will also be allowed to operate for the purpose of housing and feeding guests only.
“Businesses are closed. That’s the beginning and the end of it,” he stressed.
For a full list of guidelines under the shutdown, please visit the Barbados Government Information Service’s website www.gisbarbados.gov.bb.