Barbados relaxes mask mandate, COVID travel protocols end at midnight

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(BARBADOS TODAY) Barbados will be relaxing the mask mandate and ending the COVID-19 travel protocols from 12:01 am on Friday, September 23.

Acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw announced major changes to the COVID-19 Directive during a press conference at Ilaro Court this evening.

Bradshaw stated that the mask-wearing will be optional, however, there will be exceptions for healthcare, education, public transport and those in prisons.

“The wearing of masks generally will be optional, however, mask-wearing remains mandatory for persons in nursing homes, private hospitals and senior citizen homes; persons in healthcare institutions including staff, visitors, clients and patients; all institutions where medical and dental services are provided; persons in prison, including staff, prisoners and visitors; staff and students at all educational institutions; all nurseries and daycare facilities for both children and adults and of course, persons who have COVID-19, as well as, persons who are travelling on public transportation,” stated the acting Prime Minister.

She maintained that the relaxation did not signal that Barbadians should stop being their “brother’s keeper”. She stressed that the elderly, people with “increased risk for illness” and those who maintain contact with such individuals should continue to wear masks.

“Individuals who are at increased risk for illness or death due to COVID-19, particularly the elderly and those with health conditions, may find it prudent to continue wearing masks around others. Similarly, those who have come into close contact with such vulnerable persons, you are encouraged to wear masks and to practise good hand and respiratory hygiene,” Bradshaw recommended.

Broaching on the removal of the travel protocols, the Acting Prime Minister added that unvaccinated and vaccinated travellers will not be required to be tested for entry to Barbados.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, who was also in attendance stated tourism partners and source markets will be notified of the changes.

The Tourism Minister said that the termination of the travel protocols will cause “a significant boost” this upcoming winter season.

“I certainly know that for the local tourism community, the industry partners…this is going to be a significant boost to our winter season which is upcoming because many of the people who are coming from our major source markets are they, themselves living in countries where these restrictions have been long removed and they are no longer in place except in some limited circumstances….and so it allows for a seamless transitions for visitors from their home countries to here in Barbados,” she said.

“If I am uncomfortable in my space, if I feel as though I am in a room where there are more people than I may be comfortable with or I feel as though I am symptomatic, I will wear my mask and that is a personal choice we will both make here and when we travel and when visitors come here as well,” continued Minister Cummins.

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