The island of Anguilla has removed all regulations restricting movement and gatherings, following a declaration that there are “no active or suspected cases” of COVID-19 in the destination.
The decision comes after Anguilla’s Chief Medical Officer told the island’s Executive Council that the restrictions could be “safely removed.”
Crucially, Anguilla’s ports will remain closed for passenger movements “until the situation outside Anguilla allows for the safe reopening to external traffic,” according to a statement.
The lifting of restrictions means churches, places of worship, retail stores, hair salons and barber shops, accommodation suppliers, gyms and spas, recreational facilities and restaurants and bars can reopen.
The move took effect on April 29.
“No definitive date has yet been set, but it is unlikely to be before the end of May,” Anguilla’s government said. “A limited number of repatriation flights for foreign nationals will take place this week. These flights – all of which have been formally requested by overseas governments – will take place under the same controlled arrangements as those previously implemented. All aircraft will arrive empty, with the aircrew remaining on board so avoiding any contact with ground staff.”
Anguilla Governor Tim Foy and Premier Victor Banks also stressed vigilance, urging residents to “take the simple steps that can save lives,” from washing hands frequently to covering coughs and sneezes and the like.
Officials also said that “illegal boat landings” represented the greatest threat to the island’s health and security, and that they would focus on protecting Anguilla from illegal entry as a “top priority.”
“Coordinated land, sea and air patrols remain in place, and anyone attempting or assisting an illegal crossing will be arrested,” the government said.
“The Governor and Premier thanked Anguillians for their support in following the restrictions while they were in place, and in bringing about this great achievement,” a spokesperson for the destination said. “They also cautioned against becoming complacent and asked that everyone continue to practice social distancing. Environmental health officials in Anguilla will be visiting all commercial premises in the coming weeks to check compliance with established environmental health regulations, bearing in mind the importance of good basic hygiene in preventing the spread of all infectious diseases.”