Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: British Virgin Islands to impose territorywide 1301-0500 daily curfew Sept. 2-16; nonessential businesses to remain closed.

Alert Begins 02 Sep 2020 09:21 AM UTC
Alert Expires 16 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Territorywide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: International travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) will impose stricter curfew orders and other restrictions starting Sept. 2, to curb the spread coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Officials will impose the new curfew 1301-0500 daily until at least Sept. 16. Workers in essential and critical services are exempt from the curfew.

Only limited essential businesses will be permitted to operate 0500-1300, including supermarkets, pharmacies, and fuel stations. Businesses must ensure their staff and customers maintain 1.8 meters (6 feet) of social distancing, that all persons wear a mask, and they adhere to sanitization protocols. The closure of bars and night clubs, restaurants, daycare centers, gyms, recreational and sporting facilities, and summer camps, will remain until further notice.

Outside the curfew, authorities are urging the public to remain in their homes as far as possible, except to conduct essential tasks and business, and for limited exercise. Officials are also urging individuals to avoid gathering in groups and continue adhering to social distancing and hygiene protocols. Individuals must wear a protective mask in public. According to previous regulations, gatherings for faith-based organizations, graduations, weddings, and funerals are permitted under physical distancing requirements and a maximum of 20 people. All beaches will be closed by 1200 daily.

International Travel
Officials have begun the gradual reopening of the BVI's air and seaports, though most leisure travel remains banned. Under Phase 1 of the reopening plan launched June 4, citizens and permanent residents of the BVI can re-enter the islands. Under Phase 2 launched Sept. 1, work permit and exemption holders, medical students, dependents of citizens, residents and permit holders, and persons conducting business in the territory are permitted to enter. All private and commercial vessels are prohibited from traveling within the BVI's territorial waters, except for authorized fishers and intra-island ferries. There are no restrictions on air freight or courier transport. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
Premier Andrew Fahie previously stated that an earlier decision to relax the measures was taken to grow the BVI's National Flow of Income, and allow economic recovery. However, as the latest measures highlight, previously relaxed restrictions may be reapplied if the number of COVID-19 cases increases significantly. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in a further relaxation of restrictions. Authorities could impose highly targeted localized measures on some islands in response to increased activity.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. 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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