COVID-19 Update and Press Conference – June 5, 2021. (PMO)

Supermarkets, mini marts, village shops and gas station auto marts have been given the green light to reopen their doors from Sunday, June 13.

In addition, spectatorless sports can fully resume subject to the COVID-19 protocols, while those seeking to engage in competitive sporting events, including horse racing, will first be required to seek permission from the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit.

Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams, outlined these changes to the COVID-19 provisions when the new one takes effect on Tuesday, June 8, during a press conference to update the country, this evening.

“With the exception of those changes…all the provisions in…Directive Number 10 still remain in force,” the Minister said.

He explained that persons could return to their sporting activity provided they obeyed and observed all COVID-19 protocols.  In addition, persons are asked to note that requirements for each sport would be determined based on the nature of the sport.

One such sport is horseracing, which will be allowed to resume, but without spectators, and only those directly involved will be allowed to attend on any given day.

“Horseracing…gave us some pause because of the nature of horseracing, because of our perception of what happens at the Garrison [Savannah]…. We think of a ton of people on the infield, even in the grandstand… It is a whole … festive atmosphere.  That is what horseracing is associated with in Barbados,” Mr. Abrahams pointed out.

He stated that without horseracing, there was an average of 300 to 400 persons present, inclusive of grooms, jockeys, people tending to the tracks, and those doing maintenance and cutting the grass on the tracks on a normal day.

However, he noted that the horseracing fraternity was “exceedingly proactive” and developed a set of comprehensive protocols, which Government was “prepared to give a try”.

Under the recommendations put forward, only persons connected with the horseracing on that day would be allowed to attend, even if they were a horse owner.

“So, we are comfortable that the proposals by the horseracing fraternity are no less strict than what obtains right now on a non-racing day. That is why, horseracing has been included, so you will not be expected to see a whole ton of people at the Garrison because of horseracing for now will be spectatorless,” Mr. Abrahams emphasised.

He added that while there would be no spectators, all other activities associated with horseracing, such as gaming and the placement of bets, could continue online.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, gave the assurance that the door was not closed to competitive sports and urged sporting associations and organisations to meet with the Ministry and explain how they planned to restart their domestic competitions, and receive the necessary guidance on how to do so safely.

“It is our intent to return to a normal state as possible for sports in this country. That is the guidance that the Ministry of Health and Wellness has provided for the national sporting associations, as well as the COVID Subcommittee,” he said.

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