People of Sint Maarten here and abroad, I hereby address you as Prime Minister of St. Maarten and Chair of the EOC Silveria Jacobs. Today, the Government of Sint Maarten published a new National Decree extending the exception of April 18, 2020, no. 2020/0316 for the entire territory of St. Maarten today, April 19, 2020, after assessing the COVID-19 developments and containment measures during the two-week lockdown period. It was established that although the majority of the population had complied with the regulations set by Government, the COVID-19 virus still exists in the territory of St. Maarten, and we all still have the responsibility of mitigating the spread. The new national decree will be for a period of three weeks starting on April 19, 2020, with a possible extension if necessary.
Based on the latest available data, counts as of April 19, 1:00 PM:
· Self- Quarantine: 98
· Self-Isolation: 87
· Number hospitalized: Pending
· Number Tested: 225
o Number Positive: 67
§ Male: 47
§ Female: 20
o Number Negative: 138
o Number Pending: 19
o Inconclusive: 1
o Deceased: 10** (+1 Dutch resident who passed away in Guadeloupe)
The gentleman was tested and treated on the French side, and flown out for critical care last week, however as he is a Dutch resident, he will be removed from the French count and added to ours. This will also happen vice versa if a French resident is treated or tested on St. Maarten.
· Recovered: 12
· Active cases: 45
The restriction of persons' freedom of movement remains one of the most effective methods of containing further COVID-19 infections, taking into account the fact that infected persons may be asymptomatic but may infect others and the limited amount of test kits available.
In accordance with the National Decree, I will also release the essential business shopping schedule per Sunday, April 19, 2020, allowing for essential services to be open to the public three days per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM. These businesses are supermarkets, grocery stores, bakeries, pharmacies, pharmaceutical suppliers, banks, and gas stations, including wholesalers, distributors, and retailers of cooking gas. The first hour of shopping starting from 8:00 AM until 9:00 AM is reserved for the elderly, disabled and pregnant women.
The public is only allowed to make use of the mentioned services in the designated zones in which they live. Zone A represents the East of Cole Bay hill (ex: Philipsburg, Cay Hill, etc.) and Zone B represents the West of Cole Bay Hill (ex: Cole Bay, Simpson Bay, etc.). Aside from the referenced opening hours, deliveries are allowed on the days mentioned above and for the remainder of the week excluding Sundays.
All businesses are to remain closed with the exception of the following essential and emergency services: hotels, guesthouses, yachting agents and marinas which still have guests to tend to, security companies, agriculture (farmers) and fisheries (fishermen), media outlets, garbage collection, and sewage services and infrastructure management, funeral services, essential public utility services, Postal Services St. Maarten, medical practitioners, medical laboratory services, dental clinics, emergency and paramedic services, freight services, shipping, and cargo companies and government-owned entities.
The following services must remain closed to the public, however, they must remain available in case of emergencies. These services are notaries/lawyers, insurance, veterinary clinics, hardware stores, (delivery only), baby and maternity supply stores (delivery only), and electronic stores (delivery only). All construction projects must stop, except for the COVID-19 related construction.
The following companies must remain closed to the public but may provide services to essential or emergency services. These are restaurants, caterers, commercial laundry services, maintenance and repair services, gas stations, suppliers of cooking gas and water deliveries.
The staff of the essential businesses mentioned in this list must be in the possession of a valid disaster pass or a waiver signed by the owner of the business. Persons already in possession of an existing waiver for essential services mentioned herein and signed by the Prime Minister, the Minister of Public Health, Labor and Social Affairs, and the Minister of Justice or the Chief of Police are automatically renewed. Persons required to utilize the public roads for medical emergencies and/or medical appointments should have proof of said appointment.
Persons who live in Saint Martin and work in Sint Maarten or have urgent medical appointments are required to fill in the Travel Waiver (Form Certificate of Exception) which must be signed by the employer and the Prime Minister (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the Chief of Police (email@example.com). This also counts for deliveries.
Persons who live in Sint Maarten and work in Saint Martin or have urgent medical appointments should get the necessary waiver signed by their employer and the Prefet of St. Barths and Saint Martin via the
online form (https://forms.gle/QugqNVS1nWrCnY9U9) or digital copies can be sent to (firstname.lastname@example.org). This also counts for deliveries.
Persons making use of the essential services such as supermarkets and grocery stores etc. on the designated days must adhere to the following regulations. Only one person per family is allowed to stand in line and shop, a maximum of 2 persons are allowed per vehicle to allow proper social distancing, wear face protective gear in public, and refrain from hugging, kissing and handshakes.
Lastly, supermarkets, grocery stores and bakeries must adhere to the following conditions in order to serve the public. There must be clearly defined markings outside and inside the store, including at the cash register, enforcing a distance of 1.5 – 2 meters between clients. Clearly marked arrows indicating “one-directional traffic” in all aisles. Ensure proper social distancing by monitoring and enforcing the maximum amounts of persons for each business. Ensure that members of staff do not have flu-like symptoms and wear protective gear on the job. Provide sanitation spray or hand sanitizers for customers entering the establishment. Ensure proper crowd control and social distancing on the outside and inside of the store and encourage the continuation of an efficient grocery delivery system to ensure that most persons stay at home as much as possible.
In closing, the Government of St. Maarten wants to know your status as a business; how is COVID-19 affecting the labour and business community. As such, the Labour Impact Assesment Survey is available on our website www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus, via the Forms, Laws and Protocols option. Fill in the form and submit, or email email@example.com to request a copy of the form. The Division of Labor Affairs & Social Services will have persons available via phone to collect the information during the coming week as well. Businesses are encouraged to make use of the online form which gives direct access to the information and improves efficiency in handling any possible requests as a result including facilitating collaboration with the Ministries of Finance and TEATT in execution of our St. Maarten Stimulus Recovery Plan.
I ask that you keep yourself informed by following our government radio station 107.9 FM. Visit www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus or visit our Facebook Page: Government of Sint Maarten for official information, statements, and news updates.
People of St. Maarten, I want you to remember who you are and who we are as a people. We have proven time and time, how truly blessed we are. I think that is the perfect marketing tool, to use for the future, but we are using it every day. Because some of us have expressed fear, we have diminished our faith. Therefore, I will continue to say in every address and every opportunity I get to address you, that we have faith. Faith beats fear any day of the week. We have faith, that we will get out of this stronger than ever before, because we are resilient. We are St. Maarten strong! When we are done, we will be an example for the rest of the Caribbean and the world to know how to deal with a real tragedy and how to get stronger as a result.
Together we can do this. Each and every one of us. These regulations are not put in place to test your faith or to push you to your limits. It is a matter of protecting your life and to get our livelihood safe, so that we can continue and return to proper economic development so that we can all thrive. Now, we are in survival mode, however, the Council of Ministers together with the Ministries are working on the recovery plan for St. Maarten, as soon as we can get COVID-19 contained. Help us to help you.
Compliance will take us a long way. I must commend each and every one of you for doing an excellent job thus far, and every day we are doing better and better.
On behalf of Government, I also extend condolences to the family, friends, loved ones and mentees of the honorable Louis Duzanson who passed away a few days ago. We were already flying our flags at half-mast due to COVID-19 related deaths, however, this half-mast is also to honor the memory of Mr. Louis Duzanson who has been a stalwart of information, an encyclopedia and a bible for St. Maarten. I am hoping that all who he has mentored, will carry on in his name, so that what he has thought, will not be lost.
We are faithful, we are strong, we are resilient and we too shall overcome this. Be blessed St. Maarten!