Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has revealed that the Ministry of Tourism, in conjunction with the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), is working on a plan to have select hotels and villas designated as quarantine and isolation facilities.
During a COVID-19 update to the nation at Ilaro Court, on Monday, Prime Minister Mottley stated that she had asked Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, to work on such a plan, and explained what that designation would mean for hotels.
“So, if a hotel is taking regular visitors who have already come through quarantine, that is what you are doing. Another one can have focus on dedicated quarantine measures; another one will have focus on dedicated isolation measures in the event of persons being asymptomatic, in other words, without symptoms and not feeling poorly.”
“And similarly, we also believe that persons who want to be able to stay in isolated facilities, and who are prepared to pay on their own, should be able to do so without us affecting them. And that is available to either ‘Bajans’ or visitors should the need arise, but those designated facilities have to be settled,” Ms. Mottley said.
The Prime Minister emphasised that this plan would address fine tuning those hotels approved for quarantining purposes, and ensure that “the absolute rigour is applied, so that they meet the protocols, and similarly, to the extent that we do have to designate hotels for isolation, the same thing; they should be a few in different price ranges, but just a handful, so that we can better monitor and survey what is happening”.
Ms. Mottley also highlighted that Government had made provisions, in the event a need arises, for additional space to house COVID-19 patients.
“Efforts have already been made to stand up Blackman and Gollop in the event that it is needed for tertiary persons, in other words, persons without symptoms, but who are feeling well but who nevertheless need to be isolated.”
Speaking on the matter of visitors breaching quarantine, the Prime Minister stressed that Government is adamant about enhancing surveillance to be able to suit the risk involved.
As such, permission was received from the National Security Council to instruct the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) and the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) to use persons who are retired at this point in time.
This she said, is “until we can get through this period, and until we can have a sufficient level of vaccination in the country, however long that takes, whether it is three months, six months, another year”.
Prime Minister Mottley made an appeal for persons trained in security matters, associated with risk, to come forward and enhance the numbers of the BDF and the RBPF, so that they, along with existing security companies, could work together to patrol, monitor and enforce protocols across the country.
She also mentioned that in addition to the BDF and RBPF assisting with the enforcement of protocols, there would be the use of drone technology, particularly for outdoor spaces where people are gathering.
“This would enhance the surveillance capacity of the country, way beyond that which was happening before,” Prime Minister Mottley stated.