Barbados is making progress towards fully reopening. On Monday, May 18, Barbados entered Phase 3 of reopening its economy following its suspension of non-essential services in the fight against COVID-19 (coronavirus). Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, made the announcement saying that the decision was made based on public health recommendations, and outlined the updated protocols, which, she stressed, will be constantly under review.
In Phase 3, a number of businesses have been allowed to reopen, including key government offices, construction, manufacturing and delivery companies. The government of Barbados has also issued a number of mandatory health and safety protocols for the reopening businesses, including limiting work requiring human contact, wearing face masks, increased sanitizing of facilities, and practicing social distancing.
“This plan is about three main things. First and foremost, it is about public health and keeping people safe post-lockdown. Secondly, it is about exiting full lockdown, bringing back activity, and stopping the spread of severe risks to society and security from not doing so. Thirdly, it is about breathing hope and killing despair. It is a plan that engages all of society and makes a subtle shift from command and control to a sense that individuals are doing something positive about their lives, their communities and the circumstances,” Mottley said.
For the wider public, Phase 3 has also seen the relaxation of previously implemented measures, including returned beach access between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and again between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. However, residents remain under curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Speaking to the country’s key revenue generating industry, Mottley indicated that the government of Barbados is committed to supporting the sector through this critical time. “Tourism will still be a mainstay of our economy; all different types of tourism from the traditional sun and sea to medical and educational tourism, from new visitors to repeat visitor to those from the diaspora.”
As such, a BDS $200 million (approximately U.S. $100 million) Barbados Tourism Facility will be created in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank’s private sector lending arm. This facility will provide support to hotels in need of urgent working capital and give them the opportunity to become more profitable through upgrades, expansion and modernization. It will also focus on lending for good development outcomes, such as jobs retention and to hotels that achieve better integration with local agriculture, use renewable energy and upskill local staff.
In addition to the lending facility, Mottley announced the resumption of several major construction projects across the island, including the BDS $400 million development at Sam Lords, 75 apartments at the Crane, and BDS $25 million improvements to the Apes Hill Golf Course.
Note: The protocols established by the Ministry of Health and Wellness to contain the virus for visitors arriving from other countries remain in effect. All persons coming to Barbados will be quarantined for a period of 14 days.
According to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, there have been 90 confirmed cases and seven deaths. The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. adds there have been 68 total recoveries and all active cases remain in isolation and are receiving care from the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
More updates on Barbados’ response to COVID-19 can be found at gisbarbados.gov.