Starting Monday, April 27, government will move forward with the phased internal reopening of the territory.
Businesses will be allowed to operate within a daily seven-hour window for the next 14 days and residents will be permitted out to access these soon-to-be-available goods and services.
Premier Andrew Fahie made that announcement during a live national broadcast on Friday evening, April 24.
He said: “Businesses will be allowed to operate between the hours of 6 am to 1 pm daily to ensure that the employees will get home by the curfew. This also means that businesses should ensure that their opening hours give allowances for their staff to report and leave work within the hours of the imposed curfew.”
Things will be reassessed after the first two weeks.
Mandatory business inspections
Prior to being allowed to operate on Monday, businesses will be inspected by government’s recently-implemented Social Distancing Monitoring Task Force.
Premier Fahie said these inspections are to ensure that establishments have implemented all precautionary measures to safeguard against any spread of the virus.
The precautionary measures are mandated to include six-feet social distancing markers inside and outside the compound, and at least two sanitization stations or washbasins that customers must use upon entering and exiting.
Non-compliant business will be ordered closed
Businesses must also ensure sanitisation and proper handling of money. They are further mandated to ensure that employers and employees wear the appropriate protective masks at all times.
“Each business must understand that if we do not adhere to the measures set, it could result in the requisite authorities closing the business,” the Premier warned.
“In the case of public transportation such as ferries, taxis, and buses; passenger-seating must be staggered to facilitate social distancing. For instance, in the case of the taxi, passengers should be in alternate seats — one per row and at extreme opposite sides of the vehicle,” Fahie added.
He continued: “With respect to wearing a mask in private vehicles, you need not have the mask on your face if you are alone in your vehicle. However, if there is more than one person in the vehicle, then masks must be worn by all occupants in the vehicle. And, of course, masks must be worn when exiting the vehicle.”
The businesses that will be allowed to operate in this first phase of the territory’s internal reopening include supermarkets, bakeries, fisherfolk and farmers, pharmacies, banks, fuel stations, and ferries (inter-island transportation only), buses and taxis (with limited passengers), construction companies, as well as building and concrete supply businesses.
Other businesses and services on government’s approved list include laundries, home-delivery services, insurance/legal/financial services that cannot be carried out remotely, office supplies stores, automotive parts and repair service operators, manufacturers of hand sanitizers and personal protective equipment, water/ice production and delivery services, and emergency household and business repair service operators.
Select government agencies and the territory’s Port Purcell cargo facility will also be open for business.
Government, in the meantime, has made provisions for approved businesses prepare for reopening before Monday.
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