Hair dressing salons, barber shops, furnishing stores and restaurants are among a suite of additional businesses given the greenlight to reopen their doors from Monday, May 18.
In addition, churches have also been given the blessing to reopen their doors after that date, but with a maximum of 20 persons in the first instance, until other logistical matters are finalized pertaining to the size of the institutions.
The reopening of these businesses was announced by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley during a press briefing, which followed a Social Partnership meeting at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, last night.
But despite the relaxing of more restrictions, Prime Minister Mottley cautioned that it would not be business as usual as businesses were expected to operate under new protocols in a COVID-19 environment. “In all of these, the condition is that the relevant protocols and physical distancing are observed,” she said.
Ms. Mottley stressed that the focus going forward would be to ensure “safe work, safe people, while keeping Barbados safe”. Among those businesses given the greenlight are:
- Small cottage industries
- Repair services (to repair televisions, equipment breakdowns and air condition units)
- Flower shops
- Home furnishings
- Hair dressing salons
- Barber shops
- Restaurants (for drive thru, delivery and take away only)
The Prime Minister explained that in cases where appliances had to be delivered to a customer’s home, the necessary protocols were developed, in consultation with the Environmental Health Department; the Ministry of Labour; the Attorney General; Minister of Education, Santia Bradshaw; Minister of Health and Wellness, Jeffrey Bostic; members of the private sector and the union, to facilitate safe delivery and installation.
Similar measures will also be in place at hair salons and at barber shops where customers and staff will be required to wear masks, and follow the necessary sanitizing protocols.
Ms. Mottley further pointed out that while restaurants will be allowed to open, it will only be for drive thru, delivery, and takeaway services, which must be ordered and collected.
Meanwhile, housekeepers will have to wait until Wednesday, May 20, before they can return to work, as the Ministry of Health and Wellness is working on training videos for them and homeowners to ensure a safe working environment.
As it relates to churches, the Prime Minister said it was agreed that 20 persons would be the limit set for those attending church, weddings and funerals.
However, she pointed out that a case could be made by a church for additional numbers, depending on the size of the facility.
She noted that discussions to determine density ratios would be held between the Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan; Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Cynthia Forde; and the relevant church leaders.
While commending churches for adapting and streaming their services, Ms. Mottley admitted that it must be difficult for preachers to preach to an empty hall and building.
“And to that extent, without compromising the safety of congregants, we want to be able to get it right, until we have that consultation completed and the density ratios worked out between public health, and the churches facilitated by Minister Jordan and Minister Forde, we therefore will simply balance it 20 persons for services, whether it be normal services or funeral services, and I would imagine wedding services too,” she said.
At the same time, athletes and fitness enthusiasts will also be allowed to resume non-contact sporting activities following the seven-week lockdown. These include running, walking, cycling, golf and playing road tennis.
The Prime Minister also said more time would be given for swimming at beaches across the island. In addition to going to the beach from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. daily, persons will be allowed to do so from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m.
During the press briefing, Ms. Mottley also indicated that betting and gaming shops, places of public entertainment and restaurants for in-house dining were not being opened at this stage, but were being considered for phase four.