Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: British Virgin Islands to impose reduced 1700-0500 daily curfew Sept. 16-29; restrictions on some nonessential businesses eased.

Alert Begins 16 Sep 2020 07:54 AM UTC
Alert Expires 30 Sep 2020 04:00 AM 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 relax the existing curfew and some business restrictions starting Sept. 16, as part of the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response plan. Officials will impose the new 1700-0500 daily curfew until at least Sept. 29. Workers in essential and critical services are exempt from the curfew.

Officials will permit most nonessential businesses, including personal care services, which have experienced a prolonged closure, and restaurants to reopen beginning Sept. 16. The closure of daycare centers and pre-schools, public pools, cinemas, bars, nightclubs, and other entertainment centers will continue until further notice. Approved businesses must ensure their staff and customers maintain 1.8 meters (6 feet) of social distancing, wear facemasks, and adhere to sanitization protocols.

Officials have not announced any changes to other ongoing domestic measures. Authorities continue to urge individuals to avoid gathering in groups and adhere 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 allowed under physical distancing requirements and a maximum of 20 people. Beaches may be subject to regulated opening hours.

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 from Sept. 1, authorities allow work permit and exemption holders, medical students, dependents of citizens, residents and permit holders, and persons conducting business in the territory to enter. All private and commercial vessels, except for authorized fishers and intra-island ferries, are prohibited from traveling within the BVI's territorial waters. There are no restrictions on air freight or courier transport. Measures 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. Nonetheless, 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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