Announcing no new cases of COVID-19 in the Territory, Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) said the current 24/7 lockdown in the Virgin Islands (VI) will not be extended; however, a new night-time curfew will take effect from April 19, 2020, running until June 1, 2020.
The Premier made the announcement at a COVID-19 update today, April 15, 2020, alongside the Governor of the Virgin Islands H.E. Augustus J. U. Jaspert and Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon Carvin Malone (AL).
Structured opening approach
In addition, Hon Fahie said, "Cabinet agreed on the plans for the first part of a six week gradual and safe re-opening that will be carefully managed. A new Curfew Order will be put in place from 6:01 am on Thursday, April 16, 2020, to 6:00 am on Thursday, April 30, 2020, for 14 days," he said.
The Premier said that on April 16 and 17, the Curfew will continue as of normal under the current order; however, from Saturday, April 18, 2020, approved businesses will be allowed to clear supplies from Port Purcell on Tortola and St Thomas Bay on Virgin Gorda.
He said critical business only, such as supermarkets and mini-marts, bakeries, pharmacies, restaurants delivery and take-outs, banks, remittance services, farming and fisheries, fuel stations and LPG cooking gas, hardware stores, inter islands ferries, buses and taxi's, laundry services, healthcare providers, insurance companies, small construction teams limited to 20 people, PPE and hand sanitiser manufacturers, office suppliers, telecommunications retail stores, garage and auto supplies stores and home delivery services will be allowed to operate.
The Premier reiterated that gatherings by faith-based organisations will be limited to 20 people only, meaning that religious organisations will be allowed to carry out gatherings; however, under strict guidelines.
The Premier also urged workers to report to work and leave their place of employment within the stipulated hours of the curfew.
Managed shopping days announced
Hon Fahie also announced a managed 5-day shopping period, starting on Sunday, April 19, 2020, and said limited exercise will also be allowed; however, beaches will remain closed to the public.
He said on Sunday, April 19, 2020, Seniors above age 70 and essential workers can access critical key business services; however, the general public will have access to key services from Monday, April 20, 2020, under strict guidelines based on districts.
On Monday, April 20, 2020, residents of District 4, 5 and 6 only, will be allowed to access business in the Road Town Area. Tuesday will be allotted for Districts 1, 2 and 3 and Wednesday for Districts 7 and 8 with District 9 having Thursday as their allotted shopping day to come to Tortola to shop.
Territory managing COVID-19 well - Hon Fahie
Anegada residents will be allowed to travel from April 20 to 23, 2020.
Jost van Dyke residents will fall into the District Two allotted timeslot.
Following the allotted shopping days by districts, residents will then be free to shop on any day within the permitted time of business.
He said the Territory is having a structured approach to reopening internally because Government is aware persons may want to rush out and make purchases.
"After the 4th day of the internal reopening we have every day of the week in which to go to Road Town or anywhere in the Territory and do business, so please, do not panic and rush out."
Premier Fahie reiterated, "We are internally re-opening, but with caution so that we do not retard the progress we have made thus far in containing COVID-19 in the British Virgin Islands, as a Territory, we have been doing extremely well."