TCI News

Curfew extended 15 days for Turks and Caicos announces Health Minister

Edwin Astwood, Turks and Caicos Minister of Health, file photo

#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – September 13, 2020 — The nightly curfew has been extended by 15 days for the Turks and Caicos and South Caicos, as the newest island with a positive COVID-19 infection is under tighter restriction, islanders learned on Friday.

Edwin Astwood, Minister of Health announced the extension of the curfew which many had hoped would end this Tuesday; it will now require that all businesses close their doors by 7 p.m. until the end of the month, September 30.

“Curfew for all other islands will continue to be in place from 8 p.m.-5 a.m. daily starting September 15th 2020 to September 30th 2020 with the exception of essential workers. with the closure of all businesses at 7 pm daily,” announced the health minister.

Technical difficulties at the press conference did not permit the minister to field media questions or explain what specifically is driving the curfew decision; a move which has been met with significant push back from the hotel and restaurant/bar sectors. 

Turks and Caicos has however continued to see positive case numbers increase and the infection spread to new islands in the archipelago.

At the time the 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew was announced on August 26, the Turks and Caicos had recorded 358 positive cases and one new death; bringing COVID-19 related deaths to three.

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Today, 18 days later and cases have exploded by 286 for a total of 644 positive diagnoses.

“Curfew is revised for the islands of Grand Turk and South Caicos to 6 p.m.-5 a.m. daily starting September 15th 2020 to September 30th 2020 with the exception of essential workers. with the closure of all businesses at 5 pm daily,” said Minister Astwood.

Domestic travel restrictions are also extended until the end of the month.

“Restriction on Domestic Travel until September 30th 2020,” and the Minister went further to outline what is and is not permitted according to the public health regulations.  “…inter-island private or commercial air or sea transport that is non-essential: Provided that airlines or boats shall reduce the number of persons traveling on inter-island flights to permit physical distancing; Provided also that travel for the purposes of banking, doctor and hospital visits, emergencies and cargo is essential travel as well as utility companies. This includes travel between the islands for the purposes tourism where another island is their final destination.”

Taking an illegal jitney is also prohibited at this time.

“No person shall offer for hire or seek to travel on any— ▪ public service vehicle transportation or any public transportation save for persons who are authorized under regulation 7(1).”

Failing to comply with the regulations are now ticketable offenses; the fine is set at $250.

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