“They mustn't see it as an excuse to do the things they're not allowed to do in England” – A reader’s plea to British holidaymakers
One of Sheffield’s very own, Trish, now lives in Barbados and she’s taken the time to share her thoughts on holidays and the impact it can have on the local area.
My name is Trish. I was born in Sheffield and lived there until about 6 years ago, and I still come back to see my father and siblings from time to time (present circumstances excepted!!!)
I've lived in Barbados for the last six years. The situation with the virus is very different here from that in Sheffield and the UK. When it hit the news last February, the Prime Minister took immediate and pretty severe action. Everywhere closed almost immediately, we had a few hours to stock up on food and that was it. The sale of alcohol was banned, the beaches were closed, there were no shops allowed to open. Garages and pharmacies remained but that was all.
After a few months it became clear it had been the right decision. Up until January 2021, we only had 300 cases and 2 deaths.
Masks are mandatory everywhere. You cannot enter a shop, garage, bank or other public places without having your hands and bags sanitised and your temperature taken. In some places we also have to sign a book with our contact details and have our photos taken. Barbados has done its best to keep the virus at bay, and it WAS working.
Unfortunately for the island, once tourism began to increase again, so did incidents of the virus. There is a very clear process here involving quarantine, but several individuals were breaching the protocols and as such, began spreading the virus. In the last month we now have over 1800 cases and have had 18 more deaths.
Anyone coming to Barbados has to quarantine. There is a specially constructed facility which is free, but most people choose to stay in specially allocated hotels - at their own cost.
I read what you had said about it possibly stopping people going on holiday. But having seen what some of the holiday makers have done, I wish it cost them more and they wouldn't come at the moment.
Barbados is smaller than Sheffield, with about a third of the population of Sheffield. As an island it cannot afford to have such a major crisis, so we have yet again gone back into very stringent measures to try and stop the wave that hit us after Christmas.
I am now a Barbados citizen as well as being proudly British. I love the island and seeing tourists enjoying themselves here. But right now, it seems that many tourists come here believing they can get away with behaviors that they wouldn't do in England. And it's having dire consequences.
So I would love it if you could point out some of these things to people wanting to get away for a holiday. They mustn't see it as an excuse to do the things they're not allowed to do in England. It's not fair.
I'm sure people think we have it easy here, just because we have sunshine and beaches. It couldn't be further from the truth. Barbados's main industry is tourism so of course we want people back here. A huge percentage of the workforce have been out of work for a year, with no real sign of when they can work in the hotels, shops and restaurants again.
Today, our beaches are closed. Major supermarkets are open for a brief time but closed at weekends. There are no other retail places open. Shops, restaurants and bars are closed. We have a 7 pm to 6 am curfew. Things will not change until we get the virus under control - and, sadly, bringing tourists here has proved to have the opposite effect.
I hope you don't mind me writing to you ... your piece in my email Star inspired me to reply.
Thanks, and stay safe...