After several meetings with key tourism stakeholders and the Social Partnership Committee, Government will be implementing new entry protocols for vaccinated visitors, come Saturday, May 8.
During a press conference this evening, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley stressed that Government had undertaken a set of clear steps to determine how best it could safely reintroduce the large number of visitors coming to the island.
“We were able to put clarity on the projections and the numbers, and what we can control and contain and manage and what we can’t,” she stated.
Prime Minister Mottley gave some idea of the proposed protocols that would be implemented. “I am in a position to announce today that we do have a second protocol for vaccinated persons, and a vaccinated person is defined as that person, who in a two-dose regime, has received both doses plus 14 days, or a one-dose regime, one dose plus 14 days. And as a result, they would now be permitted to come into Barbados with a different set of protocols from those persons who are unvaccinated.”
She also mentioned other protocols that vaccinated visitors would have to comply with. “It still requires that even though you’re vaccinated, that you come to the island with a PCR test that is negative within the last 72 hours, and that upon arrival in the country on the morning after that you will do a PCR test, whether a rapid test or a classic PCR test, and that you will have limited movement within the hotel or government facility you’re staying in,” the Prime Minister stated.
The Prime Minister disclosed that a five-step process was used to determine the proposed entry protocols for visitors.
The first three steps involved meetings with the Cabinet COVID-19 Sub-committee and the Emergency Operation Centre personnel and the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners, the Barbados Tourism Market Inc. and the University of the West Indies, and various stakeholders in the tourism industry.
The fourth step was a meeting last Wednesday with the Social Partnership Committee to review and sign off on the recommendations from the first three stages, and the final step involved Cabinet signing off on the agreed amended recommendations from the various parties.
She pointed out that given the fact that so many Barbadians’ lives and livelihoods depended on the ability to earn an income through visitors being on the island, the process was conducted very carefully.
She said it was a “difficult process” and was reviewed “sentence by sentence and clause by clause”, so as to ensure that the protocols developed “meet the risk that the country will face from those persons who are vaccinated”.
“We all know that whether we recognise it or not we take risk in life every day, but in taking the risk we try to be safe, and the country, therefore, must be no different with respect to ensuring that safety remains our primary concern, even as we open back up to the world.
“We feel therefore that it was important for us to establish a tripartite monitoring committee, which over the course of the next four weeks, will work with the hotel sector with the tourism attractions, with the stakeholder like the taxi drivers and all others…to make sure that our protocols are as tight as they can be, and to make sure that the framework for monitoring is also as tight as it needs to be, recognising that even though the risk is miniscule that we are not and we should not be allowed to drop our guard,” Prime Minister Mottley stated.
She stressed that Government would continue to review the protocols to ensure that they are functioning well. “We equally know that these protocols will continue to change, especially when we reach herd immunity. But at this point in time, we are being very cautious and ensuring that there is still a safe environment,” Ms. Mottley said.