COVID-19 update and press conference – February 18, 2021.

A new COVID-19 directive issued by Government will now require residents across Barbados to remain at home both day and night unless they have legitimate reasons to be on the roads.

In addition, the Government has instituted a “stay at home weekend” which will also result in further restrictions including the closure of gas stations and bread depots across the country on Saturday, February 20, and Sunday, February 21.

The new directive took effect from midnight on Wednesday, February 17, and runs until midnight on February 28.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Dale Marshall, today sought to explain the COVID-19 Directive Number Four and what was expected of residents as Government continues to take action to bring the number of COVID-19 infections under control.

“Let us purge our minds of what happened yesterday, what happened the day before, what happened two weeks before that. The current directive, directive number four, stipulates that you can only leave your residence during the daylight hours…if you are an owner/operator or employee of a business or an establishment, which is found in the schedule in this directive; or if you are transacting business with such an establishment; for the purpose of visiting a beach or park for the purpose of doing exercise; if you are currently involved in the COVID-19 vaccination exercise, either as a service provider or to receive a vaccine; or if you’re involved in the Operation, Seek and Save programme,” he pointed out.

Mr. Marshall made it clear that only those who fit into those categories should be outdoors on the road during daylight hours, while all others will be required to remain at home.

“For those Barbadians who seem to feel that they have carte blanche during the day, we have stipulated in this directive now that during the daylight hours, unless you have legitimate business with any of the exempted businesses or any of the essential services, unless you are to do any of those things, then you are expected to stay within the curtilage (boundaries of your property) of your home,” he emphasised.

He noted that this action was being taken because despite the national pause, there were still a large number of vehicles on the roads, with some assuming they had to remain at home between 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., and they could go wherever they liked during daylight hours.

The Attorney General added that as it related to the upcoming weekend, it was Government’s intention to “tighten the screws” a little further, for which the guidelines are also found at Clause 8 of the new directive.

Mr. Marshall explained that under this measure, businesses that would have previously been allowed to open over the weekend will now be closed, while some activities would be restricted. This includes gas stations, bread depots, beaches and parks.

However, he noted that arrangements for churches would continue with 10 persons being allowed to facilitate streaming of services; 10 mourners, one officiant and the funeral director for funerals; and the bride and groom, two witnesses and the marriage officer for weddings.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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