Severity: Critical Alert
Exit/Entry: Trinidad and Tobago to continue relaxing business restrictions through June. Borders remain closed due to ongoing COVID-19 activity.
- Alert Begins: 08 Jun 2020 10:48 AM UTC
- Alert Expires: 22 Jun 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Transport and business disruptions, increased security
Authorities in Trinidad and Tobago plan to continue relaxing restrictive measures related to curbing the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through June. As of June 8, most retail stores, professional services, and the public sector have reopened, albeit under strict operating requirements. Officials have announced the following plans for additional reopenings for the coming weeks:
From June 8:
- Hairdressers, barbers, spas, and domestic workers will be allowed to resume operations.
- Public transportation will be allowed to operate at 75 percent capacity.
From June 11:
- Houses of worship may reopen under additional operating protocols.
From June 22:
- All public service employees may return on a full-time basis.
- Public transport will be allowed to operate at 100 percent capacity.
- Beaches and rivers will reopen.
- Bars, gyms, casinos, cinemas, and in-house dining will be allowed to resume.
- Sporting activities will be allowed to resume without spectators.
- Gatherings of no more than 10 people will be allowed.
Some existing restrictions will remain in place, such as the closure of all schools and other educational institutions through at least September. Officials continue to enforce the closure of all of the nation's airports and seaports to international passenger aircraft and vessels. The edict does not apply to domestic flights, which recently resumed, and cargo shipments. Citizens and legal residents, including students and cruise ship employees, are gradually being allowed re-entry subject to mandatory quarantine protocols. 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. Officials in Trinidad and Tobago initiated a phased approach to reopening the country May 11, likely to allow some economic recovery. The reopening of borders is only slated to be considered in the final stage. Should the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increase, relaxed restrictions may be reapplied. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in a 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.