Statement by His Excellency the Governor
Mr. Augustus J.U. Jaspert
On the Further Relaxing of COVID-19 Measures
31st May, 2020
Good day all,
I would first like to thank everyone in the Territory for their compliance with the measures that have been put in place for our safety amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic. I know that it has indeed been a challenging period for us all, but I am thankful to each of you for the role that you have played in ensuring the continued prevention of the spread of COVID-19. Thank you for all that you have done and I wish you all a happy long holiday weekend as we celebrate Whit Sunday and Monday.
As you would have heard from the Minister of Health and Social Development, we now have no confirmed active cases of COVID-19 in our community. This is hugely positive and undoubtedly, can be attributed to your adherence to the preventative measures that were put in place. However, we must not be complacent or think that that there is no risk in our community – we must continue our efforts to ensure that we keep ourselves safe. Your actions have saved lives and have allowed us to get to this point and I again would like to thank you and ask you to continue to abide by the measures in place and to keep safe social distancing and practice good hygiene. Across the Public Service, we are also increasing resources dedicated to monitoring and supporting businesses to adhere to the safe distancing guidelines. I thank all Public Officers, Police and Statutory Agencies for their ongoing support.
Cabinet has been working hard to get us through various aspects of the re-opening of the Territory. By now you would be aware that restaurants are now able to offer dine-in service for their clients and residents have been able to access our beaches for a longer period. These changes, of course, were considered under the advice from the National Security Council, Cabinet and our medical professionals while taking the safety and well-being of residents into consideration. We, of course, need to do all we can to support the economy whilst keeping us all as safe as possible.
Having assessed the current situation and health reports, Cabinet met yesterday, Saturday, 30th May during a special meeting and agreed once again to amend some of the measures in place under the Curfew Act to allow for the lifting of some of the restrictions that were put in place over the past weeks. As Governor of the Territory, I have signed today an amended Curfew Order that goes into effect today, Sunday, 31st May.
- Beginning today, Cabinet has decided that the curfew will now be in effect from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. to allow residents more time to exercise and undertake activity in the cooler parts of the morning and to allow people to prepare their business activities earlier.
- Our beaches are now open until from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is important to note that beaches are not open for large gatherings or events and safe social distancing protocols and mass gathering restrictions should still be adhered to.
- Hotels, other accommodations, gyms and approved fitness facilities are now allowed to operate but must be inspected by the Social Distancing Task Force and certified by Environmental Health Division to ensure specific safe distancing and hygiene protocols are in place. I know these are difficult times for our tourism and accommodation industry in particular. Thank you for all you have done keeping staff employed and I hope that we can make the most of living in the most beautiful islands on the planet with staycations that support our fantastic local tourist businesses.
- The ban on the movement of boats within our Territorial waters except where authorised for specific purposes continues until Wednesday, 3rd June. Our police, customs and health teams are working hard to get safe protocols in place that will allow marine traffic to start again, while ensuring the security of our marine border. We know that this is has been a difficult restriction to have in place when people want to take their boats out, but this has been necessary to ensure that our joint team of police, customs and immigration can focus on securing the waters against the risk of anyone coming in illegally and potentially carrying the disease with them. We hope to be able to provide a further update on this next week.
The efforts to enhance our testing capability was further improved through the recent shipment of more testing supplies from the United Kingdom. This shipment included a testing machine that is easier to use and provides faster results that are now validated on island — eliminating the need to be shipped overseas. This is indeed a significant improvement and with the UK supplies of testing kits, significantly enhances our health capabilities and gives us the confidence to relax measures further. This is particularly important as we start to open our borders in a limited way from next week. I must thank the United Kingdom Government and people for their continued assistance during this period.
As we continue to take careful steps to re-open and reboot our economy, it remains important for us to remember to adhere to the guidelines that have been put in place for our safety and not become complacent. This means that we should continue to keep a safe social distance, avoid mass gatherings and adhere to proper hygiene protocols, especially as the limited re-opening of our borders commences next week. Cabinet is meeting regularly to review our plans and we will set out more details soon. The Minister for Education will shortly set out further details on the approach to schooling, which I know is a major issue for parents and children across the Territory.
This period in the Territory’s history has not been easy, and I would again like thank everyone for their cooperation as we face this pandemic together. I encourage you to continue to do your part to ensure the safety of everyone in our community as we face the days ahead. By acting together as one unified community we can get through this.
Thank you again, and may God continue to protect and bless this Territory.