Montserrat will close it’s borders to non-residents from Thursday, March 26 at 6PM said Premier Easton Taylor-Farrell on Wednesday.
The decision comes on the heels of confirmation that there are two cases of COVID-19 on island. The closure is part of a new series of measures to go into force on Thursday to reduce the spread of the virus on island.
The premier and his cabinet have also agreed to the closure of all non-essential businesses on island for a period of 14 days effective Thursday.
Cabinet has approved to new SR&Os. SR&O #18 calls for a total shut down of the island except for essential services. These exceptions include medivacs, and vessels bringing food and related supplies.
SR&O #19 which is related to Montserrat’s Immigration Act, prohibits entry into Montserrat of persons who are not Montserratians. Holders of permits of permanent residence, members of air and sea crews, relatives or dependant of someone resident or national of the island are also allowed entry.
The Deputy Governor’s office has announced the relevant government ministries to be affected by the order. The essential private sector businesses are:
- medical, health, hospital, infirmary or nursing home services;
- telecommunications or broadcasting services;
- water, electricity or sanitation services;
- banking business services;
- grocery, agricultural or pharmaceutical products;
- services connected with the Legislative Assembly;
- services connected with the loading and unloading of ships and with the storage and delivery of goods at, or from a dock, wharf or warehouse operated in connection with the dock or wharf;
- services connected with oil-refining and with the loading distribution, transportation or retail of petroleum fuel, liquefied natural gas or any renewable source;
- airport, seaport, civil aviation and ferry services
The government has also called for an evening curfew from 7PM to 5AM. Exempted from this are airports and sea ports and those providing essential services.
There are also to be no public gatherings of more than four people. Funerals can have up to 15 people in attendance.
During the day 5AM to 7PM, permission is granted for travel to and from work, shopping, medicals. As exercise is necessity for many, groups no larger than four are permitted.
Premier Taylor-Farrell said companies will have to work out the logistics for their organisation. Essential service providers are required to close by 6PM daily to allow workers to be home before the 7PM curfew. This excludes workers for the hospital, police, fire and Montserrat Utilities Ltd.
The new measures are to come into force at 6PM on Thursday, March 26, 2020.
In a similar action, the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda have decided to close the V.C. Bird International airport to all incoming commercial traffic, commencing midnight Thursday March 26, 2020, thereby ending the possibility of flights from the customary North American and European tourism source markets.
This decision expands the announced ban on citizens from several identified countries. Those citizens of those several countries who would have arrived on British Airways, American Airlines and Air Canada, among others, may wish to take advantage of the opportunity to return home.
Antigua will still continue to allow aircraft from Montserrat, Barbuda and Anguilla. Antigua has three confirmed cases of the virus while Montserrat has two. Antigua is the primary gateway for travellers to and from Montserrat.
For all out COVID-19 updates, visit https://discovermni.com/covid-19-dashboard/