Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: British Virgin Islands to impose new 1900-0600 curfew May 10-24 due to COVID-19. Businesses operating hours to be expanded.

This alert affects British Virgin Islands

This alert began 08 May 2020 12:20 GMT and is scheduled to expire 25 May 2020 12:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Territorywide (map)
  • Time Frame: May 10-24
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions, increased security

Authorities in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) will impose a new daily curfew 1900-0600 May 10-24. The relaxed measure will replace the ongoing 1300-0600 curfew and is part of continued efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Only essential workers are allowed to leave their residences during curfew hours.

Officials also announced the easing of restrictions on operating hours for approved businesses from May 10, which will be increased from 0600-1300 to 0600-1900. Certain businesses have been allowed to operate under strict sanitization and social distancing protocols since April 27. The expanded list of approved businesses and services include:

  • Essential businesses such as supermarkets, bakeries, fisheries and farmers, pharmacies, banks, fuel stations
  • Buses, taxis, domestic inter-island ferries, and marine stores and boatyard operations
  • Construction companies and building and concrete supplies businesses
  • Laundromats, sanitation companies, and insect, mold, and bug control services
  • Home delivery services, courier stores, and freight agents
  • Office supply stores, hardware stores, and commercial and household supplies and appliance stores
  • Insurance, legal, and financial services that cannot be carried out remotely, and telecommunication companies
  • Automotive parts and repairs
  • Manufacturers of hand sanitizers and personal protection equipment (PPEs)
  • Water and ice production and deliveries
  • Approved emergency household and business repair companies
  • Medical establishments and veterinarian services
  • Restaurants for delivery and take-out only
  • Retail stores, beauty product supply stores, and flower shops
  • Printing, graphics, and signage supplies
  • Real estate agents
  • Funeral homes, churches, and other places of worship

All air and seaports remain closed for international passenger transportation until further notice; the measure does not apply for air freight, cargo, or courier transport. Cargo seaports are opened for domestic inter-island passenger transportation and cargo vessels; cargo ports will be closed on Sundays.

The measures in place will significantly impact business and transport in the country. Authorities will likely keep an increased police presence deployed to enforce the restrictions. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The restrictive measures taken by the BVI authorities correspond with similar actions taken by other governments globally in response to the spread of COVID-19, a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Premier Andrew Fahie has stated that the decision to relax some measures has been taken to rebuild the economy and grow the BVI's National Flow of Income. Should the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increase, relaxed restrictions may be reapplied. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in a further relaxation of restrictions.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers. Plan for possible ground shipping and travel delays; seek alternative routes and shipping methods for time-sensitive cargo.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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