Antigua ports have been asked not to allow anyone to travel to Montserrat if they do not have proof of approval from the Government of Montserrat. This is one of the new changes to be enforced as the island prepares to reopen.
On Saturday morning, Premier Joseph Farrell and Minister of Health Charles Kirnon announced on radio that the island will revert to the conditions before the lockdown was instituted on February 6, 2021 with a few changes to encourage compliance and limit new introductions of the coronavirus here.
All public servants are expected to be at work Monday morning, as the lockdown has been lifted here. Businesses can return to regular operations as of Sunday, February 28 at 5:01AM.
Churches can return to regular services on Sunday, February 28. Mask wearing is mandatory and social distancing and numbers are based on the size of the buildings. These restrictions are also to be implemented for funerals.
Primary schools can reopen on Tuesday, March 2. The Montserrat Secondary School will continue virtual classes on Tuesday. They will reopen for face-to-face classes on Monday, March 8. Students and staff are still dealing with the sudden loss of the acting principal Mrs. Jais-Ann Patterson on Tuesday. She was also the Geography teacher for the fifth form students preparing to take CXCs in June.
Minister Kirnon extended condolences to the educators and students, adding that the Permanent Secretary will provide an update on reopening of the MSS and also what support is being given to assist those needing to process their grief.
Public gatherings numbers are limited at 50. Mask wearing and social distancing is mandatory in public spaces. Individuals and businesses who break this will be charged with non-compliance and a fine of EC$500 or three months imprisonment or both. A further fine can be given of EC$1000 or six months imprisonment or both for further infractions.
Non-resident technicians must now take a COVID-19 PCR or RNA test on arrival, whether Montserratian or non-Montserratian. They must also receive prior approval to coming by both the Ministry of Health and Immigration. Non-resident technicians are required to quarantine for 14 days and also work within their bubble.
The health minister encouraged residents to take the vaccine. He said he expects that in the months to come countries will be making it mandatory that you need a vaccine to travel. This is an opportunity to do so while the vaccines are available here. To date, just over 700 people have been vaccinated.
Details of the SRO
The new regulations, under the Public Health (COVID-19 Suppression) (No.10) Order, S.R.O. 15 of 2021 takes effect on Sunday February 28 at 5:00a.m.
As of Sunday, the number of persons allowed to gather is 50, all businesses, schools at all levels, and religious establishments are allowed, however COVID-19 precautionary measures such as the wearing of face-coverings, cleaning and sanitization and social distancing must be adhered to.
The wearing of face-coverings will be mandatory in a public place. Therefore, a customer, visitor, staff or, employee is required to wear a face covering when entering, while conducting business and while working in a public place, business, organisation or department, or place of business. The following individuals are however not required to wear a face-covering:
(a) a child age 3 years and under;
(b) a person who has a medical condition, health condition, cognitive condition or disability that prevents him/her from wearing a face covering;
(c) a customer, when the customer is dining at a restaurant or food shop;
(d) a customer, when the customer is drinking at a bar or rum shop;
(e) a person if a request is made of the person to remove his face covering temporarily for security and identification purposes;
(f) a person who is driving in a motor vehicle with no passengers in the motor vehicle;
(g) a person who is driving in a motor vehicle with a member of his household;
(h) a person who is on a beach or road or in a park or other similar open public place provided there are no other persons within six feet of that person; and
(i) a person who is on a beach or road or in a park or other similar open public place with a member of his household provided there are no other persons within six feet of that person.
Under the new regulations, a parent or legal guardian is responsible for ensuring that a child over the age of 3 wears a face covering in a public place.
The list of persons allowed to enter Montserrat has been expanded to include:
A parent, child or sibling of a deceased person, once the parent, child or sibling of the deceased person has been granted permission by the Minister of Health to enter Montserrat for purposes related to the death of the person, to include attending the funeral of the person.
A parent, child or sibling of the spouse of a deceased person, provided the parent, child or sibling of the spouse of the deceased person, has been granted permission by the Minister of Health to enter Montserrat for purposes related to the death of the person to include attending the funeral of the person.
As it relates to non-resident technicians, S.R.O. 15 of 2021 will require non-resident technicians to make an application to the Minister of Health for approval to enter Montserrat prior to submitting the online access declaration form. The non-resident technician will still be required to take a PCR-COVID19 test or RNA COVID-19 test on arrival in Montserrat.
If a non-resident technician intends to remain in Montserrat for more than five days, the non-resident technician must take a PCR COVID-19 test or RNA COVID-19 test on day five of his stay in Montserrat.
The requirements for non-resident technicians must be followed whether the nonresident technician is a Montserratian or a non-Montserratian; and a person shall only qualify for the measures applicable to a non-resident technician, if the person entered Montserrat as a non-resident technician with prior approval from the Minister of Health.
Restrictions regarding visits to a person in self-quarantine, a designated quarantine facility or place of isolation, a patient in the hospital, a person in a residential care establishment or facility and a detainee or prisoner in a correctional facility will remain in place. Therefore, no one is allowed to visit the aforementioned except with or approval from the Chief Medical Officer or Hospital or the manager of the residential care facility or the Superintendent of Prison.
S.R.O. 15 of 2021 expires on March 29, 2021. The full S.R.O can be read of downloaded from the Government website at the following link: