The state of emergency in the territory has been extended for two more weeks, but the daily curfew has been cut down to 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., giving residents five extra hours on the road each day, Deputy Premier Dr. Kedrick Pickering announced on Friday.

The previous curfew, which required residents to stay off the roads from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m., has been blamed for the long lines that have plagued gas stations, grocery stores and banks in the days after Hurricane Irma.

Business owners have also bemoaned the fact that it has made their employees miss crucial early-morning work hours.

But officials have said that the curfew is necessary to ensure security and to allow essential workers to clear the roads and jumpstart the recovery process. Such workers’ efforts have been hindered by traffic, Communications and Works Minister Mark Vanterpool said Friday during a press conference.

In announcing the new hours, Dr. Pickering — who gave the update on behalf of Premier Dr. Orlando Smith and Governor Gus Jaspert, who were attending to other duties —  said the curfew was amended “in light of the substantial progress on security, relief and recovery efforts across the territory.”