Friday 19 July, 2019

Changes to National Shutdown Policy approved

(File Photo)

(File Photo)

Cabinet has approved the revised Policy Framework and Standard Operating Procedures for the Systematic Shutdown and Reactivation of Barbados.

These procedures will be activated in the event of a severe weather, tropical storm or hurricane warning being issued by the Barbados Meteorological Service, in collaboration with the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) and the Emergency Management Advisory Council.

Under the revised policy, government, through the Minister of Home Affairs, will issue a National Shutdown Administrative Instruction to shut down the country, following consultation with the relevant agencies in relation to the threat.

However, the document dated June 2019, indicates that the National Shutdown would be done on a staggered basis to ensure that key elements of national operations are followed to maintain an effective level of operation for as long as possible, while facilitating the systematic closure of non-essential operations.

According to the schedule for the national shutdown, visitors will be given an opportunity to leave the island 36 to 48 hours ahead of the expected impact, depending on flight availability.

All educational institutions, including schools, pre-schools, day care centres (both for children and the elderly) and the Barbados Community College, will close 24 hours ahead of impact, while visitors will also be given a final opportunity to leave the island.

All non-essential services of the public and private sectors must shut down 18 hours ahead of impact, while public shelters will be activated 12 to 18 hours ahead.

Except for the emergency services, such as the Royal Barbados Police Force, the Barbados Fire Service, the Emergency Ambulance Service, hospitals and the Department of Emergency Management, the entire country will be on shut down six hours ahead of impact.

Essential services in the private sector have been identified as utility companies, supermarkets, mini-marts, shops, pharmacies, general stores, including hardware stores and lumberyards, companies that provide public transportation and telecommunication providers.

Persons are asked to note that no response will be available by responder agencies during impact.

Meanwhile, an all-clear will be issued to the general public after the Director of the Meteorological Services has determined that the weather system no longer poses a threat to Barbados, and after collaboration with the Director of the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC).

Public officers are expected to return to work during normal working hours following an all clear notification issued by the NEOC, after consultation with the Head of the Public Service and Cabinet Secretary. All statements on the situation will be made by government officials, with support from the Chief Information Officer of the Barbados Government Information Service, and if necessary, through the National Emergency Broadcast System.

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