Attorney General Dale Marshall is warning business owners to keep their establishments closed this weekend as the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit will be “out in full force” and will shut them down.
Speaking during a COVID-19 press conference this evening, he reiterated that the current directive ends on Sunday, February 28, and the measures announced by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley would take effect from Monday, March 1, and be in place until Sunday, March 14.
He explained that he had received numerous reports of shops being opened earlier today and there was some confusion as to whether or not the measures announced by the Prime Minister in her address on Thursday night were with immediate effect.
“Because the Prime Minister said that shops will be open, we have had numerous reports that Barbadians have opened shops and I am quite sure that the Prime Minister made it clear, and it is our duty as Government to “rein in things” before they get out of hand. Shops, supermarkets and all those things will not be allowed to open over the weekend. This is the continuation of the directive that we are operating from – Directive No. 4.
“So, those people who…opened their shop today and think that they will have an opportunity to open tomorrow, they are absolutely wrong. The COVID Unit will be out and looking to deal with those particular kinds of issues,” he stated.
He also informed that there was no National Stay at Home Weekend as was the case last week, and reminded the public that Directive No. 4 states that unless persons are leaving home for the purposes outlined, such as going to the gas station, going to the beach in the morning or to purchase bread, they are required to stay at home.
The Attorney General disclosed that Directive No. 5 incorporated many of the stipulations in Directive No. 4, with some modifications.
He said come Monday, March 1, appliance stores for the sale, delivery and installation of appliances, and automotive stores workshops, for vehicle repair servicing, the sale of spare parts of motor vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles would resume operations between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Additionally, construction projects, hardware stores, companies providing architectural, engineering and quantity surveying services will resume operations.
Mr. Marshall pointed out that every exemption granted was “on the condition that the companies that are exempted operate with the smallest possible staff such as would allow them to operate safely”.
Also cleared to resume operations are courier services, landscapers, gardeners, maids and nannies and other household staff, and professional service entities, such as lawyers, accountants, actuaries.
Regarding gas stations, the Attorney General said they would operate on a hybrid arrangement, where from Monday to Saturday, gas stations will resume full service. On Sunday, they will only open for the sale of motor vehicle products, gasoline, diesel, bottle gas, top ups and pharmaceuticals.
The Attorney General added that public and fish markets would reopen; fishing will be permitted, and restaurants would reopen for curbside pick-up, drive-through and offsite delivery of meals.
Mr. Marshall reiterated that bars would remain closed while village shops, minimarts and rum shops would be opened. However, rum shop patrons would not be allowed to sit and play dominoes or cards, or consume items, but must collect their items and go.
He said tradesmen would work as needed and computer and electronics stores would reopen from Monday. Supermarkets will open from Monday to Saturday and bread depots and bakeries will continue operations as outlined in the current directive.
Mr. Marshall said there would be no vending on the shoulders of the ABC Highway with the exception of coconut vendors, while off-road vending of vegetables in communities would continue.
He reminded Barbadians that over the next two weeks, the COVID-19 Unit, with enhanced numbers, would be monitoring how Barbadians behaved and respected the protocols as this hinged on the next steps in the country’s fight against COVID-19.