Effectively, a warm lay-up describes a situation where a cruise ship docks at a port with a reduced number of crew members as well as reduced maintenance of the vessel while its essential machinery and mechanical systems are kept in operation.
As cruise lines have been forced to suspend operations because of COVID-19, most are in search of ports to dock and maintain their vessels as they wait for the pandemic to subside.
This access granted to cruise ships for warm lay-ups in the BVI is one of the latest amendments to the BVI’s COVID-19 curfew order, which came into effect today, September 12.
Government has not said what it intends to charge for cruise vessels to use the territory’s ports for lay-ups. But, the decision to do so comes amid calls for government to reopen for tourism as residents are experiencing income-loss from the total shutdown.
The government has named November as a tentative date for the reopening of local borders to visitors, as authorities seek to reduce the number of active COVID-19 cases in the territory.
In the meantime, these latest amendments to the curfew order were made by Cabinet after the number of active cases dropped to 28.
The amendments also gave permission for all businesses — with the exception of a select few — to operate as of September 12 between the hours of 5 am and 1 pm daily.
The businesses still not permitted to operate are salons, hairdressers, barbershops, restaurants for in-service dining, bars, nightclubs, and pubs.
The ministry said those businesses are to remain closed “until further notice”.
As for the businesses now allowed to operate, they will be subject to inspection by the Social Distancing Monitoring Task Force and certification by the Environmental Health Division.