Message By Honourable Andrew A. Fahie
Premier of the Virgin Islands
Covid -19 Curfew Update
1 April, 2020
My dear Virgin Islands people
A pleasant good day and God’s blessings to you and your families.
Continue to be well. Continue to be in good spirits. Continue to use this time at reflect and enjoy the company of your families, while practicing social distancing at home.
For those of you who are working from home, I thank you for doing your part to keep this economy going.
Your commitment gives me hope because you are indeed showing through your actions that we are all in this together.
By now you know our collective mission, and that is to stop COVID-19 on its track here in this Territory.
When we do that, we are contributing to the world’s one message—that is—the only way to win this invisible threat is to show love to each other from a distance.
I am reminded of a song that I haven’t heard for a very long time: From a Distance where Bette Medler says:
From a distance the world looks blue and green;
From a distance there is harmony;
And it echoes through the land
It's the voice of hope
It's the voice of peace
It's the voice of every man
God is watching us
God is watching us
God is watching us from a distance
And, I firmly believe in my heart, where my Faith in God is strong, that healing is in our land, but we must do our part with BVILOVE.
I stay this because I am yet to think of a time when GOD didn’t come through for us.
So I want all of us to believe, to reflect, and to remember the many triumphs in our own lives. We all got back up, and stronger.
And, I believe that working together, policing ourselves will bring the COVID-19 count back to zero, and together we will keep it there.
I believe that through our joint effort as a Territory, a Government and a citizenry, we will achieve this.
Every day that passes without any new cases of the coronavirus is a milestone for the BVI.
And so today, where we have no new confirmed cases, the BVI has passed another milestone.
The Minister for Health would have provided you with the updated figures yesterday which include 143 persons who, because of their travel history or because of having come into contact with certain persons, are under quarantine.
We need to continue with the precautions and observations for a period of time to ensure that they are cleared.
Quarantine helps to break the cycle. And, it helps to keep the person safe, it is needed to be done. It not only keep them safe, but it keeps all of us safe.
This was the rationale behind implementing a curfew, and a further curfew—to keep us all safe.
Your Government has been keeping our promise to ensure that you are informed of all decisions and relevant information.
As you know, Cabinet has been meeting daily via the internet or in appropriate social distancing spaces, to keep the BVI ahead in the fight against this health pandemic.
Yesterday, 31 March, you would have heard of Cabinet’s decision to extend the curfew period until 16 April at 6pm, initially.
Yesterday, I promised you that we would come back with more Cabinet Decisions as we move forward in another curfew for our safety.
Today Cabinet decided:
- that under the Curfew Act, 2017, a Territory-wide 24-hour curfew will be imposed from 6:01 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, 2nd April to Monday, 16th April, 2020, with the exception of essential workers;
- that notwithstanding item (a) above, persons who fall under the prescribed categories will be allowed to have access to certain services in a limited and managed way from 6:00 a .m. to 6:00 p.m. from Thursday, 2nd April to Saturday, 4th April, 2020, subject to the following:
- essential workers listed in the Curfew Order and those persons shopping for the vulnerable categories can do so from 6:00am to 8:00am;
- other persons, one per household, will be allowed to access the basic and essential services between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. by surnames:
- A-I on Thursday, 2nd April;
- J-R on Friday, 3rd April; and
- S-Z on Saturday, 4th April.
- Cabinet also decided that limited basic and essential services (pharmacies, supermarkets, banks, gas stations, private medical facilities, fisherfolks, farmers, bakeries, office supplies stores, money transfer services, hardware stores and mini markets will be allowed to open and be encouraged to offer on-line shopping for curbside and home delivery;
- Cabinet also decided that businesses that are allowed to open during this period are mandated to maintain the protocols for social distancing and implement increased sanitisation measures;
- no one under mandatory quarantine will be allowed to leave his/her home during this period and measures will be implemented as to how they would receive essential supplies:
- endorsement and approval were given for the establishment of a Client Support Centre for persons quarantined due to the COVID-19; and
- approval was granted for the Deputy Governor’s Office and HEOC to engage with private security companies to take forward the actions outlined in the Client Support Services Centre programme.
- those persons in the vulnerable categories must also remain at home and receive their essential and basic supplies through home deliveries;
- burials will be allowed, with a maximum of 20 people, over the three-day period.
- Cabinet also decided that household curbside garbage collection will implemented on designated days in accordance with a Territory-wide schedule to be issued by the Waste Management Department, Ministry of Health and Social Development.
I want to take a moment to ensure that you are clear on how this curfew will work.
Basically, we are on 24-hour curfew.
However, on this Thursday, 2 April; Friday, 3 April; and Saturday, 4 April, persons will be allowed – during the hours only of 6am and 6pm – to come out for certain activities, and then return to their homes.
So, this is a full curfew, but on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 6am to 6pm, only essential services will be allowed to operate their businesses as I have mentioned before.
I thank God because the Banks continue to work with us for the good of the people. We continue to lobby the banks to have them open Thursday, Friday, Saturday. God is so God. Banco Popular will open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday on both Tortola and Virgin Gorda. This is what happens when we all work together.
Let me say that persons who are permitted outside their homes to use essential services MUST only leave their homes to go directly to those places of business and go straight home.
I remind you to do what is right and DO NOT congregate anywhere or visit anyone. When you are done, go straight back home. It is for your good and our good.
Persons will be allowed to use the essential services based on the first letter of their last name as follows:
- Thursday: A - I
- Friday: J - R
- Saturday: S - Z
You will have from 6am to 6pm, however 6am to 8am is reserved for essential workers and seniors based on designated day by last name.
What we have done it to stagger the operations to avoid the build-up of crowds. This is for everyone’s protection.
Please note the following guidelines, because these are very important.
- Only one person per household will be allowed to go shopping.
- Shop for 14 days. I repeat: shop for 14 days.
- All social distancing protocols, sanitisation and other precautions must be adhered to.
- The wearing of masks that only fit over your mouth and nose is encouraged, but not in banks.
- Assistance to persons or families who are experiencing hardship to get groceries can contact the Family Support Network at 499-0999 or 542-2085. There will be a maximum amount assigned per person or family. EXPOUND
- No home delivers will take place after Saturday 6pm.
Saturday 6pm starts a total of 14 days lockdown for 24hrs daily.
For legal purposes, the current Order for the curfew will end on 16 April.
However, a new Order will be done for at least 3 days more to give a full 14 days starting from this Saturday.
So, this is why you are being advised to shop for 14 days.
Once we all do our part as members of a community and we maintain the recommended physical distance from each other – especially those persons who are required to quarantine – everyone would be kept safe.
Many businesses are working to introduce conveniences to help make it easier for you to get your business done.
Some are using curb-side and delivery services, and online shopping.
As far as possible, I urge you to make use of these services because that will help everyone to get served faster and it will help with crowd control.
I want to emphasise as well that the supermarkets and wholesalers have given the assurance that they have sufficient stocks to last for several months, once there is no panic-buying.
So, let us be responsible and orderly in our shopping.
I also want to urge all businesses to have compassion and consideration for citizens.
We in the Virgin Islands are one family.
Remember that due to the current situation, persons are not able to work. So, please help to ease their burden.
Do not add to it by raising prices and introducing new service charges. These are your loyal customers.
Some of them are struggling. Please do not take advantage of them, as we have seen with the Hurricanes of 2017 because these dull days will not last forever.
The same goes to the landlords. Work with your tenants and be understanding.
We are in this together and we have to help each other in whatever way we can to get through this.
These decisions are tough and what I being asked is a lot, but we are doing this to save lives.
These decisions were taken in the best interest of all the people off the BVI.
None of these decisions by Cabinet Ministers were based on class, political factors or where persons live, because this virus respects none of those things.
I also want you to rest assured that your Government is standing as the Government for all of the BVI.
This is not about who put us in office and who did not.
We love all our people equally.
As your Premier, I love all my Virgin Islands people equally.
You are my people and I am your Premier and others with my colleagues, we are your Government—Putting you the people first.
As always, I urge you to keep praying for the Territory.
God has always stood with us, more so in the tough times and he will not let us down.
May He Bless and Keep his Virgin Islands people.
I thank you.