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(Barbados Today) – Four parties were shut down today by the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit, Head of the COVID Communications Unit Ambassador Elizabeth Thompson has disclosed.

She told a virtual press conference this evening: “The Compliance Team under Mr Ronald Chapman broke up four parties. Yes, people are still having parties and they are not necessarily wearing their masks and they are exceeding the number allowed.”

Thompson warned against the dangerous practice as she urged Barbadians to fully comply with the directives under the February 3-17 National Pause aimed at reducing the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

She said: “It is not legal to have mass gatherings, that this could result in up to one year in prison or a fine of up to $50,000.

“We don’t want to criminalize anybody. That is not the intention. We want to protect you and we want you to protect us and the rest of our country and our communities. We want you to protect your families, and you can’t do that if you are not keeping more than six feet away from strangers, if you are not washing your hands with soap and water regularly or hand sanitising and if you are not wearing your masks, and if you’re in mass gatherings.”

The Emergency Management (COVID-19) (Curfew) No. 3 Directive 2021 forbids the holding of social events including, parties, dances,  receptions, meetings of a fraternal society, private or social club or civic association or organisation, no “bus crawls”, “limes” or karaoke events, no picnics, bus or other vehicular excursions or boat cruises.

Thompson stressed that Barbados was still facing a serious situation as she outlined the latest COVID-19 figures.

As of Saturday, there were 33 new positive cases – 16 men and 17 women.  There are 291 active cases.

Overall Barbados has recorded 1,709 confirmed cases while 1,400 people have recovered. Eighteen people have died from the viral illness.

The public health laboratory has completed 106,949 tests since February 2020.