Governor Dakin’s radio address: registering as an essential service in Turks and Caicos

, , Leave a comment

Well done TCI. We did collectively well last night. By 8:15pm there was almost nothing on the roads on our most populated island. By 9pm all there was, were the blue flashing lights of road blocks and patrols. Some arrests and vehicle confiscations, but very few needed. I know – and you can now be confident – that we are going to get through this calmly, sensibly and collaboratively.

Today you as employers, employees and as families will be doing your final preparations for what will be an extraordinary three weeks. The three weeks you saved the Islands. That’s what you are about to do.

While you prepare today the central national security team will be working at pace to ensure the Police have one centralised database – that will be accessed from the CCTV suite – that Police Officers can use to clarify whether someone, under the law, is an essential worker or in an essential industry. It’s designed to help the Island make a good collective judgement on this. It’s designed to give those who we rely on confidence that they can go to their place of work backstopped by permission sought by their employer and agreed by the government.

The central team will work through the night and weekend and our aim is, by the time we move to daylight on Monday, to have replied to the vast majority of emails; the database will be in place and operational. Over the weekend the Police will use their judgement, please as employers and employees use yours.

If you haven’t received a reply by first light on Monday then you must assume that you have not yet been recorded on the database; we however assure you we will reply to every email with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’.

If you send a question to this email account that is anything other than a request from an employer or carer it won’t be answered; we won’t have time over the weekend. Our priority is to get essential workers and carers able to move confidently but under tight control for the good of all.

If you are an employer or a carer I’m going to give you an email address in a moment, the same as I gave yesterday and last night, to send us the list of names you believe fall into this category. Have a pen or a way of recording it to hand. We will also post it on the Ministry of Health’s website.

I’m first going to repeat what I said last night.

For employers, we want you to be highly responsible in the numbers you offer up. We are stopping a pandemic. We have a three week window to do this. We are not looking to ‘tick over’. This isn’t how we work after a hurricane has hit us, we are going to start off by working as though a hurricane is about to hit us. Imagine a Category 5 travelling towards us.

Each additional person you add to your list increases the overall risk to the community. If you are not responsible – as an employer – you risk many, many, people doing the right thing for three weeks which in the end serves no purpose. If your list contains ten employees – if one of them falls ill – we risk infecting ten households.
We therefore intend to start off very hard, giving very limited numbers of names agreement and granting very few exceptions. Again, since many of you have been in this position – imagine we are, just now, in the immediate pre-impact phase of a hurricane – that’s how much we want to stop or slow down activity over the first few days so we can control this.

Once controlled we will slightly open the valve. The list will be dynamic. But it’s much better we do it this way. Keep your initial requests limited. We do not need the equivalency of panic buying of names and exemptions.

We will be much more sympathetic to short very well considered lists that get you through, say, Monday – Wednesday – which we can then adjust – than a list that captures every possible person over three weeks. I assure you – once we are in lockdown we will have the ability to adjust the list 24/7. It’s in our interests to do so.

For employers of essential staff, or for employers of essential industries detailed in the regulations, and for those providing essential ‘care’ to those who absolutely can’t care for themselves, write down the following: governorsofficecovid19@gov.tc

Now send an email very clearly saying:

  • who you are as an employer plus your contact details
  • what category you fall in
  • the full names and responsibilities of those you wish to be able to work during the first few days of lockdown
  • what times of day, which days, and in what areas your employees will be moving in
  • if you are a restaurant or takeaway: where you are, what you are offering, how you intend to do all you can to be responsible
  • the likelihood that you will need to add to this list and why
  • confirming if your employees wear uniform
  • confirming your employees have photo ID
  • if you are a carer: as much information as you can provide as to where, when and how you will be providing care

I’m going to say that all again. The email address is: governorsofficecovid19@gov.tc.

Send an email very clearly saying:

  • who you are as an employer plus your contact details
  • what category you fall in
  • the full names and responsibilities of those you wish to be able to work during the first few days of lockdown
  • what times of day, which days, and in what areas your employees will be moving in
  • if you are a restaurant or takeaway: where you are, what you are offering, how you intend to do all you can to be responsible
  • the likelihood that you will need to add to this list and why
  • confirming if your employees wear uniform
  • confirming your employees have photo ID
  • if you are a carer: as much information as you can provide as to where, when and how you will be providing care

As well as this announcement that will be repeated today, at times RTC announce, we will get this up on websites and circulating on social media.

Finally bear in mind that although tight restrictions come in from tomorrow you will still be able to shop in the supermarkets. Don’t rush today – there is no need. Tomorrow – Saturday – is for lots of good reasons – a day traditionally when supermarkets are busy. Again, break that habit too. You will – I assure you – have plenty of time over the coming weeks to visit food stores responsibly.

I’ll issue some separate guidance about how we want to ensure that this requirement to visit a supermarket – or take exercise – doesn’t become a catch all excuse that can be used by those who wish to be on the road and moving about the islands on other business.

To repeat don’t flood the email account governorsofficecovid19@gov.tc with frivolous requests; I might publish some of the most egregious examples of those who clearly haven’t worked out we are fighting a global pandemic. And don’t think that your normal life isn’t going to be seriously and significantly disrupted and changed – it’s going to be – because that’s the way we are going to stop this menace. But it’s only for three weeks. Just three weeks.

Great start TCI – use the day to prepare. Looking forward to exactly the same responsible behaviour tonight at 8pm.

Revision History:

 

Leave a Reply