In an ongoing effort to contain and mitigate the COVID-19 virus on St. Maarten, Prime Minister and Chair of the EOC Silveria Jacobs declared a State of Emergency on St. Maarten on April 4, 2020, during her National Address, with immediate effect as of April 5, 2020. This state of emergency instituted a total lockdown of Dutch St. Maarten including the ports of entry and the borders to the Northern side of the island.
After several heavy discussions with the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and strategic meetings with the relevant Emergency Support Function (ESF) coordinators, the decision was made to allow persons with urgent and necessary need(s) to access essential services for two days during the lockdown also alleviating the social unrest. Supermarkets have been closed to the public, allowing only for deliveries, which was not being executed as planned. As a result, Prime Minister Jacobs stated on April 14, that she has taken the decision to make amendments to the State of Emergency Nation Decree in order to allow supermarkets and other essential services to open today, Thursday, April 16, 2020, and Friday, April 17, 2020.
On these two dates, the general public is permitted to make use of the public roads from 7:30 AM to 8:00 PM in order to purchase food and other essential goods necessary for their basic needs. The businesses allowed to open and provide essential services to the public during the two-day period are grocery stores, bakeries, pharmacies, banks and gas stations between 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Funeral home services may be conducted, provided with the understanding that no more than 20 persons are allowed to participate, also taking into account the conditions in article 9 of the State of Emergency National Decree regarding social distancing.
“I would like to remind the general public that the lockdown is still in full effect. You should only leave home if it is absolutely necessary,” said Prime Minister Jacobs. Persons who are making use of the essential services during this two day period are to adhere to the requirement of wearing a mask when out in the public. Persons should continue to practice proper hygiene and maintain social distancing of at least 1.5 to 2 meters from other persons at all times; in and outside of these establishments. Grocery stores opening to the public for this period are also encouraged to continue allowing deliveries to be made as well.