Drake spotted in Barbados as it reopens to international visitors following COVID-19 lockdown
Images of Toronto rap superstar posing without mask with fans raises concern on social media
Drake has caused a kerfuffle in Barbados as photos of the Canadian rap superstar posing with fans — both with and without a mask — are circulating on social media.
The Toronto-based performer arrived on Sunday, the same day the Caribbean island reopened to international visitors following a long lockdown due to COVID-19 — with flights from Canada among those permitted to touch down at Grantley Adams International Airport.
His customized "Air Drake" Boeing 767 was spotted at the airport, with a fan's photo of the aircraft quickly spreading online.
Images of the internationally renowned rapper, whose real name is Aubrey Graham, posing with local fans have also been circulating.
Air Drake spotted at Barbados 🇧🇧✈️❤️ <a href="https://t.co/MuJwntYSye">pic.twitter.com/MuJwntYSye</a>—@drakesource1
Yooooooooo!!!! We met <a href="https://twitter.com/Drake?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Drake</a> fam!!!! <a href="https://t.co/fKX75M3dZh">pic.twitter.com/fKX75M3dZh</a>—@itsremusbruh
I guess my day wasn't too bad 😁<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Drake?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Drake</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Barbados?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Barbados</a> <a href="https://t.co/Ka6bDNE8rj">pic.twitter.com/Ka6bDNE8rj</a>—@IiAmBuzz
The photos have drawn criticism from some on social media.
"Mask up!! Social distancing please!" posted one user named Betty Holford. "This situation is potentially dangerous."
Others pointed out the rapper and his group would have undergone testing before being admitted into the country.
Arrivals require COVID-19 tests
Protocols in Barbados says visitors must abide by all public health and social measures in place related to COVID-19 risk reduction; including physical distancing, hygiene practices, wearing of face mask and all other relevant measures.
Also, according to those protocols, visitors arriving from destinations deemed low-risk (such as Canada) are asked to produce a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their planned arrival in the country, in order to forego testing upon landing (which requires remaining in quarantine pending the results).
A revamped arrivals hall at Grantley Adams International Airport has been equipped with a thermal imaging scanner, an immigration area and a testing bay, according to the Barbados government's COVID-19 information website.
Drake and his entourage of nine were permitted to enter only after their tests were scrutinized prior to and upon arrival, Richard Carter, the country's COVID-19 czar, told media outlet Barbados Today.
Award winning Canadian rapper Drake and the nine persons who arrived on his $200 million private jet were all subjected to the same strict protocols as every other individual who arrived in Barbados on Sunday, says COVID-19 Czar Richard Carter. <a href="https://t.co/LEhTK5mtXA">pic.twitter.com/LEhTK5mtXA</a>—@BarbadosToday
All the tests were negative, Carter told the news outlet, which reported that Drake was expected to remain on the island for the next week for a potential music video shoot.
CBC News has reached out to Drake about the trip, but has yet to receive a response.
An Air Canada passenger jet also arrived in Barbados on Sunday, the first international flight to land since the island opened up to commercial air traffic.
The flight's passengers included Marie Legault, Canada's high commissioner to Barbados, and the group of 132 was greeted upon arrival by the Royal Barbados Police Force Band as well as public officials, including the country's minister of tourism and international transport, the government site noted.
Carter told Barbados Today there were "no exceptions" made for Drake and his team, as there "were none [attached] to all of the other passengers arriving on the Air Canada flight."
Mask up!! Social distancing please!! Barbados welcomes Drake and all its all visitors but this situation is potentially dangerous.—@betty_holford
Barbados has had 103 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with seven deaths.
Carter declined to comment on photos of Drake posing in close quarters with local fans, though he did highlight general concerns about some people neglecting COVID-19 protocols in numerous places, including "spaces of entertainment."