As the British Virgin Islands enters its first phase of internal reopening following weeks of a daily 24-hour lockdown, Premier Andrew Fahie is urging business owners who have not yet received approval to operate tp be patient and understanding.
In a late-evening address to the nation on Sunday, April 26, the Premier said every business will eventually get their opportunity.
But until that time comes, they are reminded not to take any chances, despite any temptation.
“Do not go down that road. Your turn will come soon enough – and it will be sooner once we are all working together and abiding with the rules,” the Premier stated. “Let us not be too hasty to push the envelope with COVID-19. This is a phased reopening. We have to start with some businesses and then expand in a systematic way, over time, based on the progress that we make and based on how the international situation evolves. For some whose businesses are not yet cleared for opening, I know it must be difficult.”
“I look forward to a successful first phase of the reopening of business, and the timely graduation to Phase Two in the not-too-distant future,” he continued.
Wearing a protective mask outdoors mandatory
In the meantime, the Premier is imploring residents to be vigilant and adapt to what he termed as the ‘new regular’.
And while noting the daily 6 am and 1 pm window that is now being allowed so residents can leave home to access food, banks and other pre-approved essential services, Premier Fahie said residents must remember that the territory, is ‘not out of the woods yet’.
“That is why we are proceeding in a cautious manner - reopening in phases. We must remain vigilant. We must strictly uphold the guidelines and the protocols that have been laid out for us. These rules were not decided upon by guess. They are informed by scientific data [and] research conducted by qualified professionals and approved by the relevant international bodies,” he stated.
The leader of government business further said the rules are designed to reduce the possibility of other persons in the BVI contracting and spreading the virus.
“Remember, you must wear a face mask that properly covers the nose and mouth area when you leave your home to conduct your business. Please maintain social distancing of six feet apart. Use the hand-washing and sanitising stations that are provided. Wash your hands for 20 seconds and sanitise frequently. While you are all outside, please hold each other accountable to safe practices,” the Premier pleaded.
Beaches are closed!
He also reminded residents that all beaches are closed ‘until further notice’.
He further reiterated that social gatherings must not exceed 20 persons, and if utilising public transportations such as the ferries, taxis and buses, social distancing protocols must be upheld.
“I must urge you to adhere to all the guidelines and regulations because deviating from them can undo all the progress we have made. Let us continue to further limit the impact of COVID-19 on the territory and on all of us. Let us continue to work together because this is the only way to overcome COVID-19,” Fahie said.