Press conference hosted by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley at Ilaro Court – June 19, 2021. (PMO)

With the positivity rate for COVID-19 cases continuing to fall and the need to jump-start economic activity and create more jobs, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has announced the removal of curfew restrictions from June 30.

Speaking during a wide-ranging address to the nation today, the Prime Minister disclosed that Government had met and reflected on the COVID-19 situation and decided that the current protocols slated to end on June 29, would be “removed from the landscape of this nation”.

“Hopefully, we won’t have to see it (curfew) again, but that is up to all of us. I cannot promise you that we would not apply brakes if we have problems. But on the current trajectory of the last 90 days, we anticipate that as long as we continue to behave as we have been behaving, then they would be no reason to reintroduce it,” Ms. Mottley assured.

The Prime Minister also announced that there would be an ease for the entertainment sector. She said based on meetings with the sector, Government was willing to “take a chance as it relates to certain types of activities”.

She made it clear that it was not practical or possible to have the traditional Crop Over events and though there was some discomfort regarding the hosting of mass events, Government was open to allowing persons to ease some of the tension built up over the last six months.

Therefore, Ms. Mottley said promoters and stagers of events would be permitted to host parties and limes limited to 150 persons in any one location.

“Hopefully, we won’t have to see it (curfew) again, but that is up to all of us. I cannot promise you that we would not apply brakes if we have problems. But on the current trajectory of the last 90 days, we anticipate that as long as we continue to behave as we have been behaving, then they would be no reason to reintroduce it.”

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley on the curfew

“It doesn’t mean that that promoter cannot have multiple sites of 150 because technology now allows us to do all types of things and all kinds of innovations, and therefore, you will find a single promoter streaming three, four, five events at 150.”

The Prime Minister added: “We have agreed that they will work through the National Cultural Foundation and the Ministry of Health with Mr. Chapman’s COVID Monitoring Unit obviously indicating the conditions. We also agree that they would submit – and they have done so – a list of venues, and the government would provide some levels of support to them while at the same time provide to some bandleaders.”

She reasoned that there have been some bandleaders and events that had been badly hurt as a result of COVID-19, and in the absence of Kadooment, mechanisms had been put in place to support band leaders.

Ms. Mottley revealed that bandleaders who design costumes for Junior and Grand Kadooment would receive $10,000, while designers for one band, either for Junior or Grand Kadooment, would be given $7,500.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley announced today that curfew restrictions would be removed from June 30. (PMO)

Regarding calypsonians and the hosting of tents, the Prime Minister said the National Cultural Foundation would provide support to the tune of $5,000 to each tent, and the costs for streaming the performances live to the public by the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation would be underwritten by government. 

Those promoters of “hard core” party events, Ms. Mottley added, would benefit from $5,000 in cash and financial support for some of their infrastructural costs to ensure that the venues can be approved and effectively monitored by the Ministry of Health.

“We want to ensure that these numbers stay where they are.  The conditions that we have put in place for those events of 150 is that persons are either fully vaccinated, meaning 14 days or more with double vaccination, if it is a double vaccination course. The only one that is not double, thus far, is Johnson and Johnson.  We haven’t been deploying that locally, but that doesn’t mean that Bajans haven’t gotten it overseas, so we have to be ready for that.  So, whatever is the full dose, 14 days thereafter, and because we are not having an exclusionary framework for Bajans who have not been vaccinated, or that you have taken a PCR test within 48 hours of coming to the event,” she said.

The Prime Minister further stated: “What does that mean in real terms is that some people will probably go and get their PCR test on a Friday morning if they want to go out Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, for those who have not taken the vaccine, I should say. We hope that we can persuade as many Bajans to take the vaccination because at the end of the day, if we get herd immunity, even these restrictions that we are still maintaining, can effectively be released at that time.”

Ms. Mottley added that pleasure cruise vessels will be permitted to operate as a floating restaurant or bar because of the inability to monitor them when they set sail.

She added that they must adhere to the protocols as set out by the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit.

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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