The Emergency Ordinance which was enacted due to the worldwide coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and which was due to expire on April 15 was extended to May 1, 2020.
Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij stated that Statia is not scaling down the Emergency Ordinance. All measures that were previously imposed are still applicable, such as no more than 15 persons can gather in one place with a recommended 1.5-metre distance between each person.
Hairdressing salons, bars, adult-entertainment and other non-essential business are to be closed, restaurants are closed but can provide takeout and delivery services.
Only 15 persons can be in large stores at the same time, and in smaller stores, only five persons are permitted with a 1.5-metre distance between them.
The commissioner said the emergency ordinance was extended due to the current situation in the region, and in particular in St. Maarten, also taking into consideration that Statia does not have the adequate medical capacity yet for appropriate treatment.
Van Rij said the Public Entity St. Eustatius is expecting to hear about an extension of the current travel ban in Statia’s airspace from the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management.
Deputy Government Commissioner Alida Francis made it known that the emergency ordinance will extend the closure of schools by an additional two weeks. The school principals, directors, school boards and stakeholders were notified of the extension by letter. They were requested to prepare contingency plans for online- and distance-schooling packages for their pupils and students during the extended period. Schools on Statia have been closed for two weeks already.
A teleconference meeting took place between education stakeholders on Statia and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science on Tuesday during which the stakeholders were able to voice their concerns about the challenges they have had to deal with concerning the shut-down of schools and distant learning.
The commissioners asked that persons adhere to the emergency ordinance during the Easter holiday weekend. The large Easter celebration that usually takes place at Lower Town was cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis.
“I would like to wish the community of Statia a peaceful Easter and I hope that you all will have a wonderful time with your families at home celebrating the true meaning of Easter,” commissioner Francis said.
She reminded everyone to practice safe social distancing during the Easter weekend and to remain vigilant during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Daily Herald.