Thursday 1 October, 2020

Ministry of Health reviews and redefines villa for quarantine purposes

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is tightening the definition of a villa.

This specifically relates to villa accommodations used for quarantine purposes with respect to COVID-19.

Presently, travellers arriving in Barbados from a country deemed high-risk and presenting a negative COVID-19 PCR test are required to quarantine at a government facility free of charge, or at a designated hotel or approved villa at their own expense. These persons will be monitored daily for the onset of symptoms.

Earlier in August, there was one reported incident of a female visitor from the UK leaving a quarantine facility before her COVID-19 test results were returned.  At that time the UK was categorised as being medium-risk.

Although a negative result was subsequently returned, the incident caused quite a stir across the island. The British visitor, later identified as Director of Sports with Aston Villa and former Juventus Women’s footballer Eniola Aluko, was reprimanded and discharged with a warning after appearing in the District “A” Magistrates’ Court on August 8, 2020.

The fluidity of the COVID-19 environment prompts a review of protocols and amendments are made as necessary.

The updated travel protocols, which took effect from Friday, September 4, define a villa for the purpose of quarantine as a self-contained accommodation unit, which shares no common areas with other properties such as gyms, laundry rooms or swimming pools.

The following are stipulations for villas for quarantine purposes.

  1. The villa must be for the exclusive use of the party for each reservation.
  2. Guests are not permitted to leave the accommodation during the quarantine period.
  3. There are to be no visitors to the property except the property manager or a representative of the villa management company.
  4. Staffing at the property must be at reduced levels and staff must wear full industry standard personal protective equipment (PPE) while working.
  5. There must be 24-hour manned security or security cameras monitored by a security firm in Barbados. This is to ensure that quarantine is not violated.
  6. All villas must be registered with the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA) and must be managed by a villa management company.
  7. Any villa to be used for the purpose of quarantine must be approved by the Product Quality Unit of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA).

Requests for approval of properties must be submitted by the villa management company at least 72 hours in advance of the party’s arrival by emailing villaapproval@visitbarbados.org.

Updated travel protocols can be found on the Government Information Service (GIS) website.

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