NCC General Manager tells beach-goers to stay home
The beaches across the island remain accessible but local lifeguards are on high alert and concerned as citizens flock to the beaches.
General Manager of the National Conservation Commission (NCC), Ryan Als, stated that local lifeguards have been instructed to "clean and sanitize" as the island fights against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NCC has been labelled as a non-essential service, resulting in the closure of its beach facilities across the island. However, the Barbados Lifeguard Service under the NCC remains in operation. Als explained that the lifeguards were titled as emergency medical technicians similar to paramedics as they have undergone medical training.
He stated that there has been no re-training for local lifeguards in light of COVID-19, as they have been prepared to handle rescue operations regardless of a person's medical status.
"The training they would have gone through would have prepared them for this. There are some additional, minor tweaks, for example, you have to clean and sanitize after every rescue and if you are performing CPR you use compressions only, you don't do mouth to mouth," the NCC general manager said.
Citizens have been permitted to go the beach but Als advised beach-goers to refrain from gathering in large numbers. The general manager went on to strongly advise locals to stay home.
Lifeguards will remain stationed at the 15 beaches across the island, but some locals lifeguards who requested anonymity contended they felt unsafe on the job and were at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.
While speaking to Loop News, a few indicated that they feared that while rescuing a beach-goer, they might unwittingly contract COVID-19 and argued that not only the facilities but the beaches should be closed islandwide to protect citizens and lifeguards alike.
"I would go out there and rescue somebody and they might got it and I don't know. I could walk to work and somebody touch me or cough pun me and I get infected. All ah we at risk," a lifeguard told Loop.
Tonight Acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw is set to address the nation and give Barbados' latest COVID-19 update at 7 pm, from Ilaro Court.