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Governor Extends Curfew, Closes Schools and Government Offices

In response to the impact of Hurricane Earl, Gov. John deJongh Jr. has extended the curfew in both V.I. districts through Tuesday morning. Public schools and government offices will also be closed Tuesday.
On St. Thomas-St. John, the curfew, which was imposed at 6 p.m. Monday, will continue through 9 a.m. Tuesday, while on St. Croix, the curfew will be extended to 7 a.m.
The announcement came Monday night after the second meeting of the government’s Emergency Management Council (EMC) in which he and Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis were briefed on conditions across the territory from the effects of Hurricane Earl.
According to deJongh in a release from Government House, "additional time is necessary for crews from WAPA, Public Works and the Waste Management Authority to make assessments of the impact of the storm on the electrical distribution system, the roadways and the waste management systems.”
Initial reports have noted that numerous roads in both districts were obstructed due to fallen tree branches and other debris, while there were numerous reports of downed power and utility lines.
The winds and rains associated with Earl are expected to subside significantly during the early morning hours of Tuesday.
At daybreak, crews from the various agencies will begin making assessments in order to begin opening impassible roadways, restoring power and resuming waste water and solid waste services.
According to the release, deJongh also said that government operations will be suspended on Tuesday and public schools will remain closed to allow for the Education Department to assess school conditions in the storm’s aftermath.
Both the governor and lieutenant governor will be briefed around midday Tuesday after initial assessments are complete.
Police Commissioner Novelle E. Francis, Jr. reminded that “the police department will continue to enforce the curfew and violators will be arrested. I encourage all persons to avoid being on the roadways unless absolutely necessary."
Francis also reported no major incidents in the territory Monday.
During Monday’s EMC meeting, the governor and lieutenant governor were told that 30 persons sought emergency shelter on St. Thomas; there was one person in each of the two shelters on St. John and on St. Croix, 15 persons sought shelter.
Due to a faulty emergency power generator at the St. Croix shelter, the occupants were relocated from Educational Complex to the Herbert Grigg Home.
Personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard are expected to begin the process of assessing the seaports and waterways on each island Tuesday. Once completed, a recommendation will be made for reopening the seaports in the territory.
Various cruise lines have cancelled ship visits to St. Thomas for the remainder of the week.
The V.I. Port Authority will also conduct an assessment of V.I. airports to determine a timeframe for flights to resume.

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