CMC: BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — 
The governments of St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines ordered national shutdowns for Friday while a staggered shutdown began in Barbados on Thursday, as the islands braced for the effects of Tropical Storm Elsa.

The three countries, along with Martinique, were under a tropical storm warning, as Elsa, with maximum sustained winds near 45 miles per hour, continued to trek towards the island chain after forming on Thursday morning.

The shutdown in St Lucia takes effect at 4 am on Friday and will be in place until the all-clear is given by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet or the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), a government statement said on Thursday.

“Therefore, the public is asked to remain indoors and not to venture out until such time,” it added.

At a meeting of the National Emergency Council in St Vincent, the government took the decision to order a shutdown for Friday.

“As a result, all businesses and schools with the exception of essential services will remain closed tomorrow as Tropical Storm Elsa approaches,” Jennifer Richardson, director of the Agency for Public Information, said in a press statement. “St Vincent and the Grenadines is expected to begin feeling the impact of Tropical Storm Elsa from 6 am tomorrow morning. All are asked to rush to complete preparations before the storm.”

With Barbados expected to start feeling the effects of Tropical Storm Elsa from early Friday, emergency shelters opened at 5:30 pm and authorities announced the closure of non-essential services from Thursday at 2 pm; supermarkets, general supply stores and hardware stores by 7 p.m.; and gas stations at 10 pm, provided they arranged transportation for staff.