Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Trinidad and Tobago extends stay-at-home order but relaxes some business and movement restrictions May 11-23. Borders remain closed.

This alert affects Trinidad and Tobago

This alert began 11 May 2020 10:30 GMT and is scheduled to expire 22 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 23
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions, increased security

Authorities in Trinidad and Tobago have announced a phased approach to relaxing movement and business restrictions relating to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) over six stages, beginning May 11. Officials will enforce Phase 1 May 11-23. Under this phase, most existing restrictions will remain the same, with only a few amendments. As of May 11, measures that will remain in place through at least May 23 are:

  • A stay-at-home order will remain in effect for all except essential, critical industry, and approved business workers. Residents may only leave their homes for approved purchases and medical services. Violations of the stay-at-home measures are punishable by fines and/or incarceration.
  • Restricted outdoor exercise, including hiking, walking, and running in groups of no more than five people, while maintaining 1.8 meters (6 feet) from each other, is permitted. Contact and team sports are prohibited.
  • All individuals are required to wear masks over their mouths and noses when in public.
  • Food establishments, restaurants, and vendors will be allowed to operate during the day until 2000 for curbside pickup, deliveries, and drive-through only. All street food businesses will be allowed to resume.
  • Authorities have granted Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL), Nu Iron Unlimited, and the West Indian Tobacco Company (WITCO) concessions to resume operations.
  • Hardware stores, including electrical and plumbing establishments, can operate 0800-1600 Monday-Saturday.
  • Retail services, including supermarkets, fruit and vegetable stalls, and bakeries can operate daily but must close by 1800.
  • Pharmacies must close by 2000.
  • All bars, clubs, theaters, casinos, and seated restaurants are to remain closed.
  • All schools and other education institutions are to remain closed.
  • All gatherings of more than five people, including religious gatherings, have been banned.
  • Officials continue to enforce the closure of all of the nation's airports and seaports to passenger aircraft and vessels. The edict does not apply to cargo shipments.

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 measures taken by the government of Trinidad and Tobago 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. The 6-stage approach to reopening the country is likely to allow some economic recovery, with the reopening of borders only slated to be considered in Phase 6. Should the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increase, relaxed restrictions may be reapplied. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in 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.

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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