Following the revelation of ten new cases of COVID-19 in Barbados, the island will be back under curfew with immediate effect.
Addressing the nation this afternoon, Prime Minister Mia Mottley imposed a curfew for midnight to 5 am from December 31 to January 14. She stated that no commercial events or fetes will be allowed during this period.
Additionally, restaurants and churches can continue their operations for Old Year's Night but they are to close by 11 pm. Mottley advised restaurant owners to make provisions for staff to get home by the midnight curfew.
Mottley also announced that that the commencement of the new school term which was slated for January 5, 2021, will be deferred for two weeks and students will resume online learning as Government sought to control the transmission of the viral illness.
Mottley also said that Monday, January 4, and Tuesday, January 5 will be declared as bank holidays. She warned locals not to use the bank holidays as an opportunity to frolic and gather in large groups.
"We are going to declare Monday and Tuesday as bank holidays not because we want you to go out there and fete or gather. In fact, it is the opposite, we are still insisting that people stay as close as possible to where they live or to people with whom they have a close relationship or family," she said.
"The public health officials need the space and time of a paused Barbados in order to aggressively carry out the contact tracing," she continued.
During this period, the beaches will remain open to the public, however, Prime Minister Mottley cautioned beachgoers that members of the Royal Barbados Police Force and the Coast Guard will be at bay to keep watch to ensure that social distancing protocols were adhered to. She revealed that the Police Force will be using drone technology to monitor the beaches.
The prime minister urged the public not to be panicked by the new curfew and to stay in their bubble, wear their masks, and sanitise.
"We need to continue doing what we know is absolutely critical if we are to beat this thing," she added.