COVID-19: Bajan beachgoers ignore social distancing, obey cutoff time
Beaches in Barbados were reopened today for a three-hour period and beachgoers complied with the time restrictions for the most part.
However, swimmers and persons on the shore did not comply with the six-feet apart requirement mandated in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 locally. Barbados currently has 82 confirmed cases reported with 29 active cases in isolation currently.
Speaking to the two lifeguards on duty to cover the 6 am to 9 am beach hours which commenced today, it was determined that more than 100 persons turned up for the reopening of Enterprise Beach in Christ Church.
The female lifeguard said:
"It looked like 500 people. Social distancing? Ha! It was normal. They were back to normal, meeting and hugging. They were making a good situation bad."
When Loop News walked around the location, commonly known as Miami Beach, by 9.09 am when the Task Force rolled up it was almost a ghost town with only crashing waves and a few stragglers taking photos or heading to their cars. There were a mere three beachgoers on the scene by the time an officer of the Royal Barbados Police Force did a final walkthrough after the Task Force departed the parking lot. None of the three were in the water or even near the shoreline.
The male lifeguard said:
"People were here before I got here and we were here from 6 am.
"But at 9 am, the people disappeared."
His colleague echoed this point saying, "The beach was empty at 9 am - EMPTY!"
Sounding like he was still in disbelief, he said, "It surprised myself. I thought we'd have to warn them." He seemed to have been struggling with ideas on how to clear the sea when the cutoff time came, but around 8.45 am the duo said people just started leaving.
Asked if the beach was full of familiar faces as they normally work this location, the female lifeguard said, "We saw the usuals and some we never saw." They said the old folks who come for their sea baths regularly were present, however, what they were happy to report was that there were not a lot of children.
"Not many children were here, and come to think of it...that was good!"
Miami Beach reopened - Day 1 (May 4)
Two women were taking photos of themselves in their swimsuits when the Task Force arrived. One lady told Loop News, "Yeah. It was packed. I got here around 8 am." And like the lifeguards, she said everybody just exited and left at 9 am.
The National Conservation Commission (NCC) bathroom facilities attendant shared similar sentiments, reiterating: "It was nuff people here this morning."
By 10 am, Miami Beach was serene, calm and empty completely.