In an effort to “make the wrongs that have been done right”, Government, through the Ministry of Finance, will be offering refunds to those visitors and Barbadians who have been affected by delays in receiving their second COVID-19 test results.
This was disclosed by Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, during an update to the nation last evening from Ilaro Court.
The Minister noted that the Ministry had received correspondence highlighting the financial impact on persons who were in accommodations beyond the expected time, as a result of delays in receiving their second COVID-19 test results.
“I wish to announce that if your results are outstanding beyond 72 hours, the Government of Barbados will cover the cost of your hotel room until you are able to get those test results; we will be covering those costs,” Minister Cummins stated.
She further explained, when questioned, that the refund applies to “over 230 persons” who had been affected by the recent backlog at the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory.
Senator Cummins said the decision to refund accommodation costs was made after consultation with the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and the Ministry of Tourism.
“Many of us travel, we have a budget; we’re travelling and we know we’re going to be in a hotel; we’re expecting to stay for four days five days and we budgeted for that.
“In this instance, we have a number of people who have written us to say, we have been in our hotel room for seven days, and we budgeted for four or five days … and we have no more money, and we don’t know where to go. We don’t know what to do,” she explained.
In addition to refunding persons their extended accommodation costs, Minister Cummins revealed that travellers who didn’t get to “see what we have to offer you, because you’ve not gotten your test results and you’ve not been able to leave your room”, are being offered the opportunity, if they are so inclined, a paid return trip to Barbados.
“We know most of you want to be able to come back because you didn’t come here to stay in your hotel room. We appreciate you for respecting our quarantine rules … and staying in your room, but we want to offer you an opportunity to come back.
“If you want to have an opportunity to come back to Barbados … because you’ve not gotten your test results and you’ve not been able to leave your room. We want to invite you to make contact with us again. At that call centre (628-4150) and we will be welcoming you back to Barbados. We will be offering you a return trip to Barbados again once this is all over,” Senator Cummins announced.
She emphasised that Barbados had a long history of hospitality and of welcoming people to its shores.
“We want to make sure that we offer you the best that we have to offer. Things will happen and when they happen, we will stand up; we will take responsibility; we will correct them [and] we are working to correct this one.”