The Government of Barbados has given the green light to the creation of safe zones.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley hinted they could be on the cards for frontline and healthcare workers back in October during a national address, and they were announced in the Emergency Management (COVID-19) (Safe Zones) Directive), 2021, issued on November 6.
Safe zones will go into effect on November 8 and will apply to “any area, business or establishment” “to which only persons who comply with the provisions of the Directive may go or may transact business.”
Any employee who makes a false declaration – either about the COVID-19 test result or vaccination status – on summary conviction, could face as much as one year imprisonment in addition to fines as high as $50 000.
Quarantine and isolation facilities designated by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO);
All other non-governmental organisations that provide health services.
The owner or operator of the establishments listed above “shall ensure that there is prominently displayed at the entrance to the institution, a notice issued by the Chief Medical Officer indicating that the institution is a safe zone,” the directive said.
“An employee who is fully vaccinated shall produce a copy of his vaccination card or vaccination certificate to the person in charge of the institution and that person shall keep a copy of the card or certificate which shall be retained among the records of the institution.”
A person is considered to be fully vaccinated if they have completed the full regimen of approved COVID-19 vaccines at least 14 days prior to trying to enter the premises.
Those employees who are not fully vaccinated will be subject to COVID-19 testing “once every seven days or at such intervals as the Chief Medical Officer determines”.
COVID-19 testing will also be required for vaccinated employees. At least 25 per cent will be tested once every 60 days or again, as the CMO determines. Any employee who tests positive for COVID, will be exempt from further tests for 90 days from the date of discharge from the isolation facility.
Employers are advised to prominently display testing schedules.
“The owner or operator or person in charge of an institution shall not permit an employee who fails to comply with this Directive to enter the institution or to remain within the precincts,” the Directive continued, adding no action would be taken against employees or owners who failed to comply with this within 14 days of the Directive being issued. (SAT)