British Virgin Islands opposition leader Marlon A. Penn said his government’s rigid curfew continues to hinder local businesses.
The BVI curfew, which took effect on May 24, was extended through June 7.
Penn, in a statement Monday, said that by relaxing the curfew to allow businesses such as restaurants to operate until 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., they would be able to implement a strict reservation policy in an effort to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Penn said since there have been no new spikes or clusters of COVID-19 transmission in the BVI, “a further relaxed curfew would enable businesses in the food industry to become profitable, and in turn sustain the business owners’ and employees’ livelihoods.”
The BVI has not had a new COVID-19 case since May 14. To date, there have been eight confirmed cases and one death.
Penn said the disruption in business due to the decline in traffic to restaurants has caused irreparable harm, leaving businesses saddled with debt. “Restaurants not only require reassurance from government but they also need a fighting chance to survive the COVID-19 crisis,” Penn said.
“The severe impact of restaurants in the territory not being able to open for dinner has resulted in servers, dishwashers, cooks, bartenders and supervisors/managers finding themselves without a job.”
Penn and opposition members presented the recommendations to boost the economy in a plan titled “COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan,” whch can be accessed via Facebook at LeaderoftheOpposition.
“The plan is aimed at delivering good outcomes to improve the current declining state of the Virgin Islands economy and ultimately improve the livelihood of all residents in the Virgin Islands,” Penn said.
He added that opposition members have offered support and suggestions, both privately and publicly, to the current administration — led by Premire Andrew Fahie — in an effort to help navigate the BVI through the COVID-19 crisis.