Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: British Virgin Islands reduces curfew to 2000-0500 daily through Oct. 1; restrictions on nonessential businesses mostly eased.

Alert Begins 25 Sep 2020 01:47 PM UTC
Alert Expires 01 Oct 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) have scaled back the curfew to 2000-0500 daily as part of the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) recovery plan. The new curfew went onto effect Sept. 24 and will remain in place through Oct. 1. Workers in essential and critical services are exempt from the curfew.

Most nonessential commercial activity has resumed; however, the closure of daycare centers and pre-schools, public pools, cinemas, bars, nightclubs, and other entertainment centers will continue until further notice. Approved businesses and individuals more generally must maintain 1.8 meters (6 feet) of social distancing, wear facemasks, and adhere to sanitization protocols. All gatherings are to be limited to no more than 50 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 international 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.

Private and commercial vessels are prohibited from traveling within the BVI's territorial waters 1800-0500, except for ferry operators, who may travel 0500-2000. 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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