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Fulford Notes Reopening of TCI Remarks by Premier

TCI crest

On Friday 29 May 2020 in the House of Parliament, the Premier announced a phased reopening of the TCI. Managing Partner Fulford notes the reopening remarks and have reproduced portions thereof below:

PHASES 2 – 4 OF THE REOPENING OF TCI ANNOUNCED

As such, Mr. Speaker, Cabinet in our last two meetings of May 20th and May 27th reviewed and endorsed a draft strategy for the phased reopening of the Turks and Caicos Islands. I would have reported in my national address that the final phases were being agreed and that a date for the reopening of the borders will be announced by June 1st which is the end of the regulations currently in place.

Cabinet has agreed the following and in doing so has balanced the need to protect lives and livelihoods. I wish to assure the people of this country that health gains remain central to the focus, and the recommendations were guided by the Ministry of Health. The Minister also assured the Cabinet that advice of the Public Environmental Health Board was sought and received and we are so guided.

I wish to announce first and foremost that Cabinet has agreed the continued use of Emergency Powers and for a nation-wide curfew to remain in place until June 22nd. This curfew will begin now from 10pm on June 1st to 5am on June 22nd.

I will now outline a four-phased approach which summarizes areas to be addressed with certain overarching public health measures which will need to be maintained into the foreseeable future in order to reduce the risk of spread. Residents will recall that Phase 1A and Phase 1B commenced on May 4th and May 11th respectively.

Mr. Speaker, Government will move into the second phased of its reopening as follows:

2A; (June 5-June 22, 2020)

· Extending of retail businesses to reopen; must strictly adhere to Standard operating protocols for retail business issued by the Ministry of Health (see attached protocols).

· Church services, weddings, funerals, burial grounds, and social gatherings to have 10 attendees, with proper attendance logs to be kept, outdoor and “drive in” options being encouraged, while ensuring that social distancing and face covering are adhered to, persons must remain in their vehicles during the conducting of the services. The limit of 10 attendees is for building capacity.

· Real Estate property showing, adhering to standard operating procedures issued by the Ministry of Health.

· Non-contact and non-team sports, personal sport/fitness training, to be allowed; A non-contact is a sport in which the players are physically separated such as to make it nearly impossible for them to make physical contact during the course of a game.

· Licensed daycare centers and child home carers. Licensed daycare centers must strictly adhere to standard operating protocols for daycare and child care services issued by the Ministry of Health before opening/ with daycare services being subject to strict enforcement.

· Personal service businesses on appointment only, e.g. Barbers and Hair Salons; Must strictly adhere to standard operating protocols for barbers and salons issued by the Ministry of Health.

· Sunday business closures remain to the same however recreational activities would be permitted.

· Visitation to facilities such as Her Majesty’s Prison, the Detention Center, Children’s Home and wellness centers should remain restricted unless deemed necessary. Any visitation should be undertaken with extreme caution and utilisation of strict social distancing, hygiene measures and use of PPE such as masks.

2B; (June 22- July 6, 2020)

· Essential travel be allowed for residents ordinarily residing in family islands outside of Providenciales to be allowed to travel, and allow to return, with proper travel logs being maintained by the proprietor of the mode of transmission, and individuals adhering to social distancing.

· Church services, weddings, funerals, burial grounds, and social gatherings to have 25 attendees, with proper attendance logs to be kept for formal gatherings, outdoor and “drive-in” options being encouraged, while ensuring that social distancing and face covering are adhered to, persons must remain in their vehicles during the conducting of the services. The limit of 10 attendees is for building capacity.

· Extension of Emergency Powers and curfew to 21 June 2020.

· Continued phased re-opening of the Civil Service, managed by the Deputy Governor. Continued phased re-opening of Statutory Bodies, managed by their respective boards and management teams.

· Sunday business closures remain the same however recreational activities would be permitted.

· Visitation to facilities such as Her Majesty’s Prison, the Detention Center, Children’s Home and wellness centers should remain restricted unless deemed necessary. Any visitation should be undertaken with extreme caution and utilisation of strict social distancing, hygiene measures and use of PPE such as masks.

Phase 3 (July 6- July 22, 2020)

Full re-opening of local Economy; all businesses and activities adhering to established protocols.

· Hotels and Churches.

· Sporting events and contact sports.

· Dine in restaurants.

· Casinos, Bars, and Discos.

· Gyms, Spas, and Fitness Centers.

· Domestic Travel-gradual reintroduction.

· Visitation to facilities such as Her Majesty’s Prison, the Detention Center, Children’s Home and wellness centers should remain restricted unless deemed necessary. Any visitation should be undertaken with extreme caution and utilisation of strict social distancing, hygiene measures and use of PPE such as masks.

· Social distancing of 6 feet between persons, enhanced hygiene measures such as frequent handwashing and cleaning as well as use of face coverings in public spaces will be required during all phases.

Phase 4 (July 22, 2020)

· Reopening of Regional and International Borders.

· Visitation to facilities such as Her Majesty’s Prison, the Detention Center, Children’s Home and wellness centers should remain restricted unless deemed necessary, until December 31, 2020. Any visitation should be undertaken with extreme caution and utilisation of strict social distancing, hygiene measures and use of PPE such as masks.

· Social distancing of 6 feet between persons, enhanced hygiene measures such as frequent handwashing and cleaning as well as use of face coverings in public spaces will be required during all phases, until December 31,2020. This will be kept under review by the Ministry of Health however it is anticipated that these measures will be required for the foreseeable future and will become the new normal. Enforcement of these measures will require enforcement by the Environmental Health Department along with relevant powers to do so under the Public and Environmental Health Ordinance.

Mr. Speaker, assessments will be carried out at the end of each Phase in order to determine whether it is safe and adequate measures are in place before consideration/recommendations can be made to move to the next phase. We reserve the right to roll back as well if there are indicators saying that it should be.

In order to do an assessment to evaluate the impact on the community of COVID-19. The assessments will take into consideration by my Government:

a. Number of hospitalisations and number of available Beds.

b. Empirical analysis of results of testing key workers and other groups.

c. Percentages of increase of community spread.

These provisions will be included in regulations and the following will also be included in these regulations:

· The mandatory wearing of mask/face covering.

· Work remotely from home should remain where possible and should remain until the last phase.

· Business times – blanket closure of all business at 8p.m.

· Small business-remove restriction of four persons at a time and allow the businesses to determine the capacity but ensuring the social distancing is maintained.

· Sunday closure of businesses will remain.

· The closure of the Cruise Port is extended to August 31, 2020 and its re-opening remains subjected to guidance from the CDC, Cruise Industry and the Ministry of Health.

· The power to order self isolation, to shelter in place, for screening and the duty to provide information will all remain in place.

· Likewise, the application to Justice of the Peace, the authority to apprehend, physical distancing protocols.

· Schools will remain closed until 26 June and will break for summer on this day.

· The social gathering ban will be lifted and a restriction of 10 persons in phase 2 a and 25 in phase 2b will be imposed.

· Attendances at weddings will continue to be restricted to 10 persons in phase 2a and 25 in phase 2b

· The restriction of domestic travel will be relaxed under the Ministry of Health’s g1uidelines

· Activities on public beaches remain restricted to 10 persons practicing social distances and no alcohol should be permitted.

· Power to requisition any building, ship or aircraft and to requisition essential services are both extended to 21 June 2020.

· The power to stop, detain and arrest and well as the penalty for spreading false information remains in place.

Increase in Medical Capacity

Mr. Speaker, we are pleased that there is in country testing and that an amended national testing strategy will soon be completed and announced which will include the use of multiple PCR Machines procured and the critical role of private sector. We are equally happy to report the impending arrival of Cuban medical personnel within the next two weeks and the critical hospital upgrade works to commence next week. These gains are important as we reopen the local economy and then our borders.

Returning TC Islanders

I am also pleased to report that under the regulations passed a few weeks ago, TC Islanders continue to return home. So far TC Islanders have arrived and would be arriving imminently from Barbados, Dominican Republic, USA, Jamaica and Columbia and they have been and will be accommodated in a Government funded quarantine facility or directed by the Chief Medical Officer.

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