The BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) has yet again decided to delay the reopening of local seaports to international traffic.
Listing multiple reasons for its decisions, the BVIPA announced the deferral in a late-evening statement on Wednesday.
It said: “The BVI Ports Authority wishes to inform the public that the 1st March, 2021 reopening of the Road Town Jetty to incoming visitors has been deferred to 15th April, 2021.”
Among the reasons outlined was the reported increase in COVID-19 cases in countries in the region and the “increased possibility of the introduction of variant strains [of the coronavirus] from international travellers”.
A number of Caribbean countries act as a gateway for travellers to enter the BVI since the territory does not have the airport facilities to accept larger airplanes.
The BVIPA, in the meantime, said the deferral of reopening seaports is also “due to the demands of the roll-out of the vaccines and the need to ensure a large percent of the local population is vaccinated”.
“The health personnel normally needed to assist in monitoring procedures at the entry portal is significantly stretched, and as such, the efficiency to monitor the opening is challenged,” the BVIPA explained.
It added: “[The deferral is also] to enhance the customer experience through further infrastructural improvements at the Road Town Jetty and other ports of entry in light of COVID-19 health and safety protocols.”
The BVIPA apologised for any inconvenience caused.
This latest instance marks the fourth date that has been given for the seaport to reopen.
The originally-planned December 8, 2020 reopening date was later pushed to January 21 this year; then to March 1.
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