After much consultation with members of the Social Partnership on Saturday, the Government of Barbados has decided not to reintroduce the alphabetical shopping system at this time.
The system, which was used in 2020 to reduce the number of shoppers entering supermarkets, banks, and hardware stores on any given day, became a talking point on Friday after Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced that the system may once again come into effect on Sunday, in order to help mitigate the possibility of the coronavirus spreading more freely on the island.
At a news conference Saturday evening, Foreign Minister Senator Dr Jerome Walcott, who chairs a Cabinet COVID-19 sub-committee, said after much discussion with all relevant stakeholders, the decision has been reversed.
“We’ve heard the views of all sides – Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP), trade unions, the private sector associations. The sub-committee deliberated and came to the agreement after examining all of the matters raised and the issues and the concerns, that the introduction of shopping utilizing the alphabet would not be introduced at this time. That it was not necessary at this time to do that,” he revealed.
Dr Walcott also said that BAMP raised several concerns about businesses relaxing protocol measures such as temperature testing, leaving of contact information, and social distancing.
He also sought to put to rest the notion of BAMP and the Government being at odds with each other when it comes to protocol recommendations. According to Walcott, that belief could not be further from the truth.
“BAMP has participated in meetings of the Health EOC (Emergency Operations Center) from time to time, and they have agreed that they will again be very active in that Health EOC. In addition, many members of BAMP have volunteered to be of assistance as it related to the dissemination of reports and results and play a more active role within the Ministry of Health and Wellness at this time, recognizing the urgency and the importance of the current situation,” he said.