ST. EUSTATIUS--In response to the recent increase in persons infected with COVID-19 in St. Eustatius, the public entity has decided to introduce several measures in the fight against the coronavirus, including the closure of schools, restaurants, bars and sport facilities for two weeks, starting from today, Tuesday, at 9:00am.
These measures were introduced after consultations with all relevant stakeholders, such as the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment RIVM, St. Eustatius Public Health Department GGD, St. Eustatius Healthcare Foundation (SEHF), Queen Beatrix Medical Centre (QBMC), the Island Support Team and school leaders.
Currently there are three cases of COVID-19 in Statia, with tracing and sourcing conducted to find out the source of one of the infected persons.
The measures include a call for persons to adhere to social distancing and good hygiene practices, and businesses providing hand sanitisers to customers and the wearing of face-masks.
The maximum number of persons allowed at social gatherings has been limited to 15. This applies to all types of outside and inside gatherings, including family get-togethers and church assemblies.
The number of persons who are allowed entry in Statia but have to go into quarantine has been lowered to a maximum of 30 instead of 60. The government is also postponing a scheduled entrance of 12 essential workers and five returning Statia residents.
Supermarkets are considered essential businesses and can remain open. However, large supermarkets can only have a maximum of 10 persons inside at the same time and smaller supermarkets five persons. Queuing in front of a supermarket will not be permitted.
Bars and restaurants are ordered closed for two weeks, but takeout is allowed from restaurants. Primary and secondary schools, after-school programmes and child-care facilities will also be closed for two weeks. Distance learning is being organised by the schools. Teachers and school directors are allowed to work from school if necessary. Meanwhile, all sport activities have also been halted for two weeks.
Employees are being requested to work from home if they can do so. If this is not possible workers are being advised to use preventative measures when venturing to their workplace.
The St. Eustatius Auxiliary Home has announced that it has taken strict actions to ensure the safety of its residents. The home is closed to visitors effective immediately until further notice, because the elderly are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.
Only passengers and employees are allowed in or around F.D. Roosevelt Airport. If someone needs to be picked up from the airport, only one person is allowed to do so. This is to reduce the number of people around the airport. The airport bar will also be closed.
At the harbour the protocol with regard to activities around the oil terminal, which was changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, will remain in place.
No passengers are allowed to enter the island via the harbour. Cargo is allowed to be picked up, but this has to be done in an organised manner, whereby only a maximum of 15 persons are allowed in the area at a time. This will be strictly regulated.
Hairdressers, nail salons and beauty shops are allowed to remain open with a limitation of five clients at the same time, while maintaining social distance. Preventative measures need to be taken by both clients and staff.
Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij said he knows this is a “long list,” but the public entity is asking the public to adhere to and cooperate with the conditions.
He said he will provide daily COVID-19 updates in the evening hours until the situation has been stabilised. “It is frightening and it is disruptive, but on the other hand, it is necessary, so let us work together,” he stated.