The Government of Montserrat has announced several new measures aimed at curtailing the spread of the Corona Virus, COVID–19 on the island.
In response to the confirmation of Montserrat’s second COVID-19 case, Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. Joseph E Farrell announced several additional measures, in a press conference today (March 25), which were agreed to in an emergency Cabinet meeting on Tuesday March 24th.
The measures have been outlined in the Public Health (COVID-19 Control and suppression) order S. R.O. 18 of 2020. The new measures are being put in place for the suppression and containment of COVID-19, and include a further restriction on large gatherings and the implementation of a curfew.
The order provides for a lowering of the gathering of persons from 25 to four. As of tomorrow (Thursday March 26, 2020) at 6pm, no gatherings larger than four persons will be permitted on Montserrat. The only exception to this is for gatherings at a funeral, which would allow for a maximum of 15 persons. Additionally, the restriction on gatherings does not apply for a large gathering at a customs airport and a customs port, if the purpose is for passengers arriving and leaving the island. The restriction also does not apply to a person employed to provide an essential service.
The order also makes provisions for a curfew to be in place from 7p.m. daily to 5a.m. the following day. From 5:00a.m. to 7:00p.m. daily persons are allowed to be in a public place if the purpose is to seek medical care, shop for necessities such as food and medicine; conduct a transaction at the bank; care for a family member or a pet; travel to and from work as an essential service provider, and to engage in an outdoor activity (exercise) to include walking, biking or hiking either alone or in a group of no more than 4 persons.
The Public Health Order specifies the essential services as follows: air traffic; fire, prison, defence or police service; medical, health, hospital, infirmary or nursing home services; telecommunications or broadcasting services; water, electricity or sanitation services; banking business services; grocery, agriculture or pharmaceutical products; immigration, customs or postal services; 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 and distribution, transportation or retail of petroleum fuel, liquefied natural gas or any renewable energy source. Public services connected with the payment of salaries, pensions and other benefits, in government departments, agencies and statutory bodies; services conducted with the Judiciary; services connected with essential government functions as determined by the Hon. Deputy Governor; and airport, sea port, civil aviation and ferry services are all specified as essential services.
Premier Farrell said the Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS) would be given additional responsibility within the confines of the law to arrest and charge persons who are found to be violating these measures.
These measures will remain in place until April 10, 2020, along with the previously announced closure of schools and the requirement for persons arriving on Montserrat to self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of arrival.
Additionally, the ‘Immigration (Prohibition on Entry Order) S.R.O 19 of 2020’ prevents a person from entering Montserrat, except for Montserratians, a permit or permanent residence holder, crew members of an aircraft or ship, and the immediate family or dependant of the aforementioned categories.
The full orders can be read here: