STATIA – Despite the drop in COVID-19 cases, the situation on St. Eustatius remains a concern. The Public Entity of St. Eustatius will therefore, prolong certain measures and also implement additional measures in connection with the latest developments related to COVID-19. The measures will be in effect for 14 days. The additional measures are necessary to prevent potential further spreading of COVID-19 and to allow the Public Health Department to conduct thorough and extensive contact tracing and sourcing. The two weeks will also be used to analyze the COVID-19 virus situation on St. Eustatius.
Bars, restaurants and casino’s must be closed for the upcoming 2 weeks. Take out and/or curb side delivery from restaurants is possible. Schools can reopen their doors again with the strong advice to practice all the COVID19 health guidelines to wash hands thoroughly and frequently, to wear facemasks, to adhere to social distancing of 1.5 meters and follow other hygiene measures.
Schools have been closed for a total of 4 weeks; three weeks due to the COVID 19 developments and 1 week due to the October school break. “Education stakeholders and the Public Entity agree that children are missing out much needed social interaction that the school environment offers. It is also important that after such a long period of distance learning that students return to school where they can benefit more from the face-to-face teacher student interaction”, states Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij. Schools, Day care Centers and Out of School organizations have all their protocols in place. These will be communicated with parents in the coming days.
The maximum number of persons allowed at social gatherings remains at 15. This measure applies to all types of gatherings and events. This includes gatherings within families, churches etc. which take place both outdoors and indoors. Shops and supermarkets will remain open, however, the number of persons that can enter the supermarket is limited: maximum 15 for large supermarkets and maximum 10 for small supermarkets and other shops, excluding staff. The social distance of 1.5 and the other hygiene measures are applicable. Loitering outside is prohibited.
Island Council Elections
On the day of the Island Council Elections, Wednesday October 21st 2020, the maximum number of 15 persons at the polling stations is not applicable. This exception only counts for the 2 voting bureaus during election day. Persons present at the polling stations must at all times keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters from the nearest person and must adhere to the standard international hygiene regulations for cleaning and sanitizing. It is highly recommended that one wear a protective face mask upon entering the voting bureau. Employers are impressed upon to allow their employees to vote during working hours. This is to prevent a rush to the polls after most businesses close at 6.00 pm.
The exemption with regards to the maximum number of 15 persons is also valid for the day and the location of the official elections results on October the
23rd 2020 as well as on the day and at the location of the installing of the Island Council members, on October 29th 2020.
COVID- Drive Thru
The Public Health Department will introduce a COVID Drive-Thru at the van Tonningenweg. This enables the Public Health Department to actively investigate if the virus is spread and if yes, how far the virus is spread on the island. Thus far tests were only taken from patients at home, in quarantine or at the hospital. In order to have a better view how the virus is developing on the island, the Public Health Department will take as many tests as possible with as little exposure of residents and medical state as possible. More details of the process of the Drive-Thru will be shared tomorrow, Friday October 16th at 10 am on the radio, during a special edition of Shedding Light, and on Facebook.