Tourism returns as Barbados declares Covid-19 victory
Amor Mottley, prime minister of Barbados, has declared the island destination free of Covid-19, with all curfews set to be lifted tomorrow.
Calling the decision a milestone in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, she added there are currently no active cases of the virus in the country.
The prime minister made the announcement during a press conference at Ilaro Court, flanked by minister of health and wellness, Jeffrey Bostic; minister of tourism and international transport, Kerrie Symmonds; and attorney general, Dale Marshall.
Mottley thanked Bostic and his team of health care workers for their hard work and dedication in leading Barbados to this breakthrough.
“This is testimony to the will, discipline and commitment of Barbadian people, the health authorities, the frontline workers, the essential services, the social partnership, the media, the police, those on the borders, all have been integral to the success we have had thus far in tackling this pandemic.
“And more so, each and every Bajan in every house and in every community,” Mottley said.
Other relaxed measures announced include physical distancing of three feet, social events with up to 500 patrons, and sporting events with spectators.
On the heels of 35 days with no new cases, Mottley shared the good news that commercial flights will resume at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) commencing July 12th with a twice weekly Air Canada service from Pearson International on Thursdays and Saturdays.
On July 18th, British Airways will resume a weekly flight out of London Gatwick; and Jet Blue is tentatively set to return to the island on July 25th, with four weekly flights out of JFK in New York.
“We will continue to take a risk-based approach to the protection of our country, our people and our visitors,” the prime minister stressed.
Intraregional flights on Caribbean Airlines are expected to resume in mid-July 2020, while Virgin Atlantic’s weekly service from London Heathrow will return on August 1st and increase in October for the upcoming winter season.
Four days later on August 5th, American Airlines will resume flights out of Miami, Florida.
As the country gradually reopens, Symmonds shared elements of the tourism reboot plan, including satellite entertainment activities in the absence of a formal Crop Over Festival, and the refurbishment of the popular St. Lawrence Gap.
Mottley added that the country will also be encouraging travellers to choose Barbados for extended stays against the new backdrop of remote working.
“We want to create an environment that will allow people to come to Barbados to work, to rest and to play from here for an extended period of time during Covid-19.
“Why? Because we know that this is one of the best places on earth to be and to remain because of the care we will take to protect the people of this nation and those who are here on island with us.”