STATEMENT BY PREMIER OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
AND MINISTER OF FINANCE
HONOURABLE ANDREW A. FAHIE
26 April, 2020
Rebooting and Reawakening the BVI’s Economy
LET US MAINTAIN VIGILANCE
My dear Virgin Islanders, residents and visitors:
Good evening and God’s Blessings to each and every one of you and your families.
Tomorrow, Monday, April 27 from 6:00 a.m., we will begin the process of rebooting and reawakening the BVI’s economy.
Our ‘New Regular’ is living and working with COVID-19.
As you know, we are not out of the woods yet as COVID-19 is not eradicated from this world.
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, research conducted by qualified professionals and approved by the relevant international bodies.
These rules are designed to minimise the possibility of catching the COVID-19 Coronavirus, and to minimise the possibility of us spreading it to anyone in the event that we are exposed to it.
As I continue to speak with other leaders across the globe, as a Government we continue to learn what worked, what is working, and what did not.
We all agree as leaders that COVID-19 is not playing around with us, so we must not play around with COVID-19.
This is reality for us as we see our people and economy affected in many ways.
The good thing is, as countries write the playbook for the future generations to come, we all agree that we have to move forward cautiously, at a proper pace so that we could slow down and avoid the spread of COVID-19 in our economy.
Remember, COVID-19 is invisible to the naked eye.
We cannot see it. We cannot feel it by touch. We cannot hear it coming. We cannot smell it. We cannot taste it. The only way to know that we have been exposed is when the symptoms start showing up.
And remember also, it is possible to be a carrier of the disease without showing any symptoms.
So, we need to take the precautions as if everyone is a potential carrier.
We know also that it is possible for persons to catch the virus, show mild symptoms and recover.
But, persons whose immune systems are compromised, such as the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, could die if they catch it.
So, we must not take any chances.
We must be vigilant.
We must take the precautions as we go out into the public.
We must adopt the “New Regular”.
As we all prepare to go out tomorrow and the days ahead, let us not take chances.
Remember, you must wear a face mask that properly covers the nose and mouth area when you leave your home to conduct your business.
You do not need to have the mask on your face if you are alone in your private vehicle.
But, if there is more than one person in the vehicle, then masks must be worn by all occupants. Masks must be worn when exiting the vehicle.
Please maintain social distancing of 6 feet apart.
Businesses must ensure that the protocols are followed.
Businesses are required to have the necessary markings on the ground to guide customers.
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.
Remember the curfew starts at 1:00 p.m. everyday and ends at 6:00 a.m. the following day, and everyone must be inside during these hours.
Stay away from beaches. Beaches are closed until further notice.
Social gatherings must not exceed 20 persons.
In the case of public transportation such as ferries, taxis and buses, passenger seating must be staggered to facilitate social distancing.
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.
And, 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 and I know the temptation will be there to take chances.
But 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.
If it is one thing that we the people of the BVI are good at, it is pulling together and working together, in BVILOVE, during times of challenge.
We have done a good job leading up to this moment and I know we will steer the course in the days and weeks ahead.
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.
May God continue to bless and keep these Virgin Islands and all who call them home.
Remember we are in this together.
I thank you.