Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Montserrat to maintain movement restrictions and relax some business restrictions May 7-22. International travel restrictions remain.

This alert affects Montserrat

This alert began 07 May 2020 13:30 GMT and is scheduled to expire 22 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Islandwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 22
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions, increased security

Summary
Officials in Montserrat will continue to enforce restrictions on nonessential movements but will also relax some restrictions on nonessential businesses May 7-22. The extended measures are part of the island's efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Residents may only be in public Monday-Friday between 0500-1900 to seek medical care or medicine, to work in essential services or provide ancillary service for essential workers, or to conduct authorized business. Outdoor exercise is permitted with no more than four members of the same household, Monday-Friday between 0500-0800 and 1600-1830, within the vicinity of one's home. No one is permitted outside their homes on weekends.

Certain nonessential businesses, establishments, and facilities will remain closed, such as education facilities; restaurants, bars, and nightclubs; barbershops, hair salons, and spas; and gymnasiums and sports clubs. However, as of May 7, certain businesses will be allowed to reopen provided they are able to enforce social distancing measures by ensuring that individuals are kept 1.8 meters (6 feet) away from each other. The following services and businesses will be allowed to operate Monday-Friday between 0500-1800:

  • Grocery stores, wholesalers, agricultural produce businesses, bakeries, and fisheries
  • Fuel stations
  • Money transfer businesses and banks
  • Water, electricity, telecommunications, and internet service providers
  • Mechanics, tire repair businesses, and basic motor vehicle repair services
  • Hardware stores
  • Authorized construction projects
  • Pool maintenance, landscaping, gardening, and lawn cutting services
  • Sand mining businesses
  • Plumber, electrician, carpenter, or authorized mason services for construction projects and household emergencies
  • Businesses, persons, or organizations authorized by the Minister of Health


International movement restrictions remain in place until further notice. Officials previously banned the entry of nonresident foreigners to Montserrat. The crews of aircraft and ships, as well as the immediate family members of Monserratians, are excluded from the ban. Those who are eligible to enter must self-quarantine for 14 days. Cargo transport is not affected by the travel bans.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely even with the reopening of some nonessential businesses. Authorities will likely keep an increased police presence deployed to enforce the restrictions. All measures are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Montserrat's authorities correspond with similar actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks 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. Montserrat's decision to reopen parts of the economy was made after no new cases of COVID-19 were reported on the island since April 12. However, should the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increase, the relaxed restrictions may be reapplied. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in further relaxation of restrictions.

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. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

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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