Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley’s address to the nation – January 26, 2021. (PMO)

The wearing of protective face masks in public and in public buildings to protect against COVID-19 will be mandatory in Barbados from Wednesday, February 3.

In an address to the nation last night, where she outlined a host of new measures and restrictions aimed at fighting COVID-19, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley made it clear that a failure to do so from that date would constitute an offence.

However, she stated that exceptions would be made in some cases, particularly if individuals had a medical excuse.

“We are going to require from the third of February in our directives that the wearing of masks in public places shall be mandatory. Unless in the case of individuals who are either alone, or in the means of exercise, or who around them have either a medical excuse, or who are in the midst of speaking, as I am, but you saw me start with my mask; you saw me take it off; when I finish speaking, I’m going to put it back on. So that we know, and we’ve heard from doctors George, Best and Forde how having and wearing masks reduces our chances significantly,” she said.

She appealed to the public to wear their masks when walking the streets, in public places, or in close proximity to others.

The Prime Minister noted that persons who could not wear a mask due to a physical or mental illness or disability would be excused, as well as those eating or drinking in public.

At the same time, she also made a call for persons to return to the days of “arming themselves” with hand sanitisers, and to frequently wash their hands.

“We need to make sure that people take proper steps to sanitise. That is the strongest recurrent message that we have to give to human beings across the world….

“So, I am saying, please, let us wash our hands and sanitise them as much as possible,” she appealed to the country.

The Prime Minister urged: “Let us try to do the right thing. And let us do it because…you are protecting first…the ones that you love…the ones that you work with, and all other Bajans that you interact with.”

She noted that further details on the restrictions would be made available over the coming days.

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