Sunday 27 September, 2020

COVID-19: Curfew extended for Barbados, but with relaxed restrictions

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley

Barbados' curfew has been extended to 11.59 pm, May 3, 2020.

However, the national directive will look different from April 15. As of Wednesday, a new order will be in place for the next two and a half weeks.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley in her address to the nation, has assured Barbadians that "Barbados will learn from the past few weeks."

She said that the new leeways will kick-in on Wednesday, April 15. "We are prepared to look at easing some of the restrictions," recognising that by May 3, Barbadians would have been "at home for some five weeks."

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Barbadians will now have two days weekly to conduct business based on their surnames from April 15. There is a shopping schedule for supermarkets, fish markets, hardware stores and banks. Customers must carry ID cards, wear masks, and have a shopping list. They must practice social distancing.

"We are not putting everybody back to full normality," but in the same way that ventilators are necessary for oxygen for patients, "banks need money," she insisted.

Overcoming COVID-19 calls for "balance", because as Bajans say, "Too far East is as bad as too far West . . . Bajans are there for the long-haul . . .

"Barbados can beat this!"

Education, examination talks to come

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The extension according to Mottley also means: "School cannot reopen on Tuesday next week." Therefore, a conversation needs to be had on e-learning and distance learning for schools. In terms of CSEC and CAPE examinations, talks are to be had with the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).

As it relates to the Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination commonly known as the Common Entrance or 11-plus, the Prime Minister said that a conversation about deferring the date will be had with principals and unions because there is more flexibility with the local 11-plus than is available with CXC examinations. "It is not for us to settle those things without consultation."

Mottley urged the public to ignore the fake news and forget the naysayers because "This is a marathon not a sprint . . . Stay focused. This virus will not get the best of us. There will be no surrender and no retreat."

From May 4, Barbados is set to return to normalcy, but Mottley stresses that it will be "a new normal".

She quoted poet Kitty O'Meara, saying:

"And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. 

"We do it not in an end of itself but as a platform for a better Barbados, a stronger Barbados."

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