Residents across Barbados are being urged to plan their shopping over the next seven days as the island prepares to embark on a 15-day “national pause” to combat COVID-19.
From Wednesday, February 3, until Wednesday, February 17, all supermarkets will open from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., and remain closed on weekends, while gas stations and pharmacies will continue to open seven days a week.
However, community and village shops will remain closed during this period.
These were among advanced restriction measures announced by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley on Tuesday night, as Government battles the impact of the COVID-19 community spread and the UK variant.
“There is no need to panic. That is why we are not announcing anything tonight or tomorrow, or Saturday, or Sunday. What we are saying to you is that we want to plan out our business, and to get ahead of this,” she pointed out.
She assured the country that there was enough food on the island to last months, and stressed that there was no need to rush to supermarkets to purchase items.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister also announced that commercial banks would be closed from Wednesday, February 3, until Tuesday, February 9. They will reopen on Wednesday, February 10.
She added that banks, post offices and supermarkets were also being encouraged to cash pension cheques dated February 1, from Thursday, January 28, to facilitate pensioners.
Ms. Mottley explained that these measures were needed to give Barbados’ healthcare system and healthcare professionals a chance to fight and win the battle against the virus.
She urged residents to remain at home to reduce activity in the country. “There should be no driving around idly, no ‘busing’ a lime,” she pointed out.