PHILIPSBURG:--- Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs with Prefette Sylvie Feucher held a press conference on Sunday afternoon where they announced that special measures are going into effect on March 30th, 2020.
Feucher and Jacobs have decided to put stricter controls at the border whereby only persons crossing over on either side for work or medical will be allowed to cross the border. Jacobs said the Dutch side will now have attestations in the English Language for persons to circulate on the public roads while the French side will have it in the French language. Jacobs explained that businesses that violate the restrictions for essential businesses will be shut down. She said the time for a warning is now over. Jacobs said that the measures that are now being enforced are to further limit the spread of the COVID-19.
Jacobs said that a curfew will be in effect from 8 pm to 6 am as of Sunday midnight, March 30th, 2020. She said persons that have to work during the early hours of the morning will be allowed to pass if they have the attestation and proof that they have to work, the same goes for persons seeking medical treatment. She said businesses already have to close at 6 pm which gives everyone enough time to get home on time. However, the French and Dutch sides have decided to implement stricter border controls. This is meant to ensure that those persons that cross the border are for essential movements, such as working on either side of the island. These measures Prime Minister Jacobs said will be implemented as of midnight tonight the new measures will be implemented, while the curfew will go into effect at midnight on Sunday/ Monday 30th March. The country's Prime Minister said the decree to restrict movement is now in place and will be published on Monday.
It must be noted that residents on either side will not be allowed to cross the border for shopping as only persons that crossing the border for working and medical purposes. Leisure activities and visiting families are now prohibited for the next two weeks.
Jacobs said residents from both sides will not be allowed to leave their home before 6 am, she said hopefully with the additional measures the scooters will be off the roads, while there would be less reasons for persons to occupy the limited hospital beds.
Chief Commissioner of Police Carl John said that French and Dutch police will be patrolling on both sides of the island. He said that cooperation has been enhanced on both sides.
Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs said the French and Dutch cooperation is at 100% and the measures are taken is to really protect the island. She said that patients that were advised to stay in insolation if they do not comply with those persons will be picked up and placed in isolation and when that happens family members will not have the opportunity to visit.
Prefette Sylvie Feucher called on parents and or families to instruct their youngsters to stay off the public roads, she said that at the moment both sides of the island have problems with scooter riders and it’s becoming out of hand.
Feucher said that St. Martin also has some good news by some cases where patients were cured of the COVID-19
Prime Minister Jacobs also advised that COIVID-19 patients are not allowed to depart St. Maarten through Princess Juliana International Airport. She said this measure was taken to avoid cross-contamination and to protect airport workers.
Jacobs said the line between Colombia and St. Maarten has reopened in order for non -COVID-19 patients that need emergency medical treatment can be evacuated.
Feucher said the French side conducted more tests and that is why the French side numbers are higher than the Dutch side, she said St. Martin also kept some tourists that were sick. Feucher further explained that at the moment they are seeing that there are infected among the local population, therefore it is essential that stricter measures be applied because very soon there will be a limited amount of tests like it is in France and Guadeloupe.
Prime Minister & Chair of the EOC Silveria Jacobs Updates on COVID-19 Developments MARCH 29, 2020
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."