Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has announced additional measures that will take effect from this Sunday, August 29, and will remain in place for the next two weeks.

During this time, visits to nursing homes and elderly care hospitals, elderly care senior citizen’s homes, the Geriatric Hospital and district hospitals would be prohibited, as health officials step up efforts to protect the most vulnerable in society.

Speaking during a televised press conference at Ilaro Court this evening, Ms. Mottley said relatives would be allowed to drop off packages for their loved ones, which would be sanitised by the caregivers. 

Instead of face-to-face visits, Ms. Mottley said technology would be used to allow for virtual visits.

“I have asked the officers to see where we can use wherever possible, electronic media, iPads, FaceTime, WhatsApp video…, we know them all.  But we don’t want people to be deprived of the comfort of their family or the pictures of their family. In fact, when I went to the Geriatric Hospital this week, I had to send a virtual hug and a selfie to a constituent of mine, who is a 102 years old, who recognised me and sent messages to me,” she shared

Ms. Mottley continued: “So, I understand the emotion that goes with it. But I’m asking us, for now, let us protect them; let us drop off the packages.  And let us do the electronic visits where possible.”

The Prime Minister informed the nation that, based on the recommendation of the Emergency Operations Centre, and the Chief Medical Officer, all church services, including funerals and weddings, would be limited to 25 persons, and the length of services would be 90 minutes in length.  There will be a mandatory six-foot spacing between persons sitting outside of their immediate family.

 Additionally, gatherings for meetings or fraternal societies, private or social clubs, civic associations, organisations would be limited to 25 persons, while the hosting of graduations and receptions was prohibited.

While not closing bars and rum shops, the Prime Minister cautioned proprietors not to allow patrons to drink inside the establishment, and stated that patrons would only be allowed to stay if there is outdoor capacity or an area that is well ventilated. 

“We don’t want people standing up in a shop, liming and drinking, as they would normally have done in the past.  And in fact, I want to speak particularly to those who traditionally do that; step outside.  We have allowed you to continue to have outdoor gatherings up to 20 persons. But this is not now about Mia talking to you or the Prime Minister talking to you, this is about us doing the right thing for each other, because whether we like it or not, I can’t save you from the virus if you put yourself in harm’s way,” she emphasised.

 As indicated last week, Ms. Mottley reminded the public that outdoor gatherings were limited to 20 persons, while hiking in groups of 100 persons would continue with no socialising before or after the hike.  The Prime Minister said that pleasure craft vessels would continue to operate at 50 per cent capacity and all indoor sporting activity was prohibited at this time.

Ms. Mottley added that non-contact outdoor sports would be permitted, with the number of athletes limited to 20 persons.  In instances where a particular sport requires more than 20 players, like cricket,  for games or practice, that approval must be given by the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit.

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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