People of St. Maarten, both at home and abroad, I hereby address you, as Prime Minister and Chair of the EOC (Emergency Operations Center), in an update for today Sunday, March 29, 2020, as part of the process to keep the community of St. Maarten informed about the latest developments and Government’s COVID-19 preparedness, prevention, mitigation and response measures.
In a meeting of the EOC held today, March 29, 2020, on increasing measures to ensure the safety and security of the population in this COVID-19 period, I have made several decisions in relation to the movement of persons in and around St. Maarten and increased controls in movement across the border in collaboration with our French counterparts.
I hereby inform you that the Government of St. Maarten will be increasing its restrictions as per article 1 of the General Police Ordinance, which allows for special measures in extraordinary circumstances. This regulation will restrict movement and authorize the police to enforce the request I made to our people on Friday, March 27, to STAY AT HOME, and to practice extreme social distancing when necessary to be out for essential services.
This regulation will require our citizens to carry a document on them, signed by their employer, declaring the need for them to travel to work, or one which describes which essential service they are traveling to or for. This document will be available for download by the citizens of St. Maarten on Government’s website www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus as of Monday.
Also, in collaboration with our French counterparts, the Prefet Sylvie Feucher, the gendarmes, and our police department, will continue to patrol the borders in order to restrict any non-essential movement across borders as well. This is in an effort to reduce the possibility of the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As such, all residents of St. Maarten/St. Martin needing to cross the border will only be able to do so for either work purposes or health purposes and will be required to carry a new document that will be available on both Government’s website for download.
Our St. Maarten residents will continue to give/receive essential services. However, Government services will be by appointment only.
Effective Monday, March 30, 2020, all licensed restaurants including street vendors will only be able to sell/deliver food. It is strictly forbidden to sell alcoholic beverages at these establishments.
This is in order to minimize the chance of persons gathering at these establishments in a social atmosphere where proper social distancing of 1,5 – 2 meters is observed. The business closures at 6:00 PM each day and business closures on Sundays will remain in effect.
Additionally, as of Monday, March 30, 2020, a curfew will be implemented at 8:00 PM until 6:00 AM the following morning to allow for the majority of workers to get home in time. This curfew is implemented in order to restrict movement except for emergencies during these hours and has been added in order to ensure that no unnecessary movement occurs during the established business closure times.
Persons traveling to essential work, before and after the established curfew (6:00 AM and after 8:00 PM) will be exempted from this measure. For example, those persons working night shifts and early morning shifts, including security guards, nurses, radio hosts, etc.
The Ministerial Regulation signed by the Minister of Justice will be published on Monday and will be enforced by our men and women in blue, in collaboration with our French counterparts. Again, I want to remind you that these restrictions are put in place in order to protect you in these COVID-19 times.
Requests for military assistance in advance of a major outbreak are still being processed by the Dutch government. Other requests for financial and other assistance for medical equipment and personnel are also still not forthcoming, therefore we ask the general public to continue to comply with the measures put in place to avoid further spread of the virus on our tiny island. We have had no new confirmations of COVID 19 cases and our 2 hospitalized and 4 isolated patients remain in stable or good condition.
We are finalizing the negotiations to establish a government-controlled quarantine/isolation facility in order to minimize the movement of quarantined and isolated persons, specifically those who may be taking chances and venturing out in public.
As I conclude my address, I ask for something very simple. Save a life by staying at home. Stay at home because you matter! I pray that you are listening carefully to what I’m saying. You matter! We are resilient and hopeful people AND we will get through this period. The Emergency Operations Center ESF coordinators are all working in the best interest of you and your families.
Follow our Government Radio station – 107.9FM for official information, statements, and news updates or visit the Government website at www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus and our Facebook Page: Government of Sint Maarten.
God bless you, the people of St. Maarten and God bless St. Maarten as we all work together to keep her safe from the spread of this COVID-19 virus.