The BVI's financial services industry enthusiastically received the news today that they could return to work on Monday 20th April with restrictions. The announcement was made by Premier and Minister of Finance, the Honorable Andrew A. Fahie, who took a break from the House of Assembly this afternoon to have a conversation with industry via Zoom.
More than 90 industry practitioners joined the Zoom call, in which the Premier expressed his appreciation for the commitment and hard work of the industry during this COVID-19 pandemic and he answered a number of questions from the attendees.
Premier Fahie said: “I am extremely grateful to the financial services industry for their help and support during these challenging times. I know it’s a stressful time, but I encourage you to continue to persevere.”
Premier said the Cabinet and Government were doing all they could to get the financial services industry back out to work and thanked them for playing such a vital role in sustaining the BVI’s economy.
Premier Fahie confirmed that the financial services was classified as essential and would be allowed to return to the offices in the business district along with other essential services providers.
Key messages from the answers provided by the Premier to questions include:
• Financial services firms may return to work on Monday 20th April with the implementation of the guidelines regarding social distancing and hygiene;
• The Premier encouraged people to continue to work from home as much as possible;
• No more than 20 persons at one time must be in the office;
• A list of approved staff must be sent to BVI Finance for onward submission to the Police;
• Staff should have appropriate ID when going to the office;
• Curfew is unlikely to be extended because of the additional case of COVID-19;
• Schools and day-cares will remain closed with focus on online delivery of services;
• The borders will remain closed but persons on work permits who would like to leave should contact the International Affairs Secretariat;
• The Premier recommended that work permit holders and other persons remain in the Territory because if they leave, they might not be able to return for a while;
• There will likely be a suspension of late fees for Payroll Tax, NHI and Social Security;
• Premier Fahie encouraged persons to wear personal protective gear, such as masks, and
• Other decisions will be announced pending Cabinet’s approval.
Premier Fahie also thanked the CEO and team at BVI Finance for their efforts in coordinating matters with the industry during this crisis.
BVI Finance CEO Elise Donovan said she was extremely pleased that Premier Fahie had taken the time to provide clarity on a number of concerns from the industry and for the Premier and Government’s support of the financial services industry. She also thanked the industry for their strong participation in the conversation.