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St. Maarten declares state of emergency, enforcement on Sunday 0.00 hours.

silly07032020PHILIPSBURG: --- Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs has declared State of Emergency for the Southern side of the island. The national decree was signed off by Governor Eugene Holiday and the Prime Minster Silveria Jacobs. The lockdown goes into effect tonight at 0.00 hours Sunday, April 5th, 2020( midnight tonight.)
The Prime Minister said that the country has no choice but to declare a state of emergency and institute a 24-hour curfew for a period of two weeks. Jacobs said that persons that are exempted from the curfew must have a “Disaster Pass” or a letter from the Chief of Police Carl John. Details on obtaining the exemption will be announced on Sunday, April 5th, 2020 at a joint press conference where Prefet Sylvie Feucher will participate.
Persons that are exempted are elected or appointed government officials, their drivers and other security, Governor Holiday and his chauffeur and security, medical personnel, pharmacies that have to be opened based on the regulation outlined for opening on Sundays and holidays, security companies, garbage collectors, freight services, shipping, and cargo services including FEDEX and DHL, media personnel.
Two gas stations will be opened to service emergency vehicles, cooking gas companies can open only for delivery to emergency businesses and domestic purposes, while some clinics such as dental services can open for emergency services. Bakeries, groceries will also be opened to deliver goods, to social affairs, a decision will be taken shortly on allowing persons who do not have the means to stock for the entire period. Jacobs said the government is working on allowing residents to be able to shop at their neighborhood supermarkets, that she said depends on the behavior of the people during this mandatory lockdown. Construction is totally halted. 
Persons that have elderly family members on the Dutch side and would need to take daily meals to their elderly relatives would need to obtain a special pass from the Chief of Police Carl John.
While government has been advising the community to prepare for lockdown and to prepare for at least two weeks. Jacobs said that those persons that could not or did not have the means to stock up should contact Social Affairs as they began distributing food boxes as of Saturday. Jacobs urged persons that were unable to stock up to contact government as they are doing everything to properly accommodate the vulnerable.
Employers that are forcing their employees to work will be sanctioned as there is an email address and phone number available to report the employers, that information can be obtained on government website and Facebook page.
Chief Commissioner of Police Carl John said the military arrived on St. Maarten to assist with the controls and to ensure the lockdown ( 24-hour curfew) is respected. He said that those that opted to break these restrictions risk being arrested and the police now have the power through the national decree to seized properties. John called on the members of the community to respect the law and to stay at home as this necessary to combat the COVID-19.
Churches are not allowed to hold services or gathering, residents are also not allowed to loiter on roadsides, or to hold social gathering. The decree on the State of Emergency can be found in the National Gazette and will also be on Government’s Facebook page.
Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs said that locking down the country is absolutely necessary in order to flatten the curve on the COVID-19 pandemic, she said the numbers are rising daily while St. Maarten already recorded four COVID-19 related deaths with the youngest being 47 years old and the oldest 69 years old.

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