Address of Lieutenant Governor Jonathan Johnson to Saba residents, March 18, 2020
On Monday, March 16th, we implemented some precautionary measures. Since then, we have seen less people coming to Saba and some residents now in self-quarantine. Because of recent developments, it has been decided that more precautionary measures are to be introduced. While there are still no suspected or confirmed cases on Saba, we want to continue to minimalize the risk of introduction. Therefore, as of tomorrow Thursday, March 19th, closure for certain businesses, institutes and events will occur for a period of 3 weeks, until Thursday April 9th, after the Easter Public Holidays will occur. This will be done to help lessen the amount of social interaction occurring on the island. At the end of this period, we will reassess our measures.
Businesses and Services
Government Services which have direct interaction with the public will remain open, that include the Census and the Receiver’s offices. Others services such as waste management, garbage collection, road sweeping and construction will continue uninterrupted. Based on the new travel restrictions, implemented by St. Maarten, airport services may become limited.
Hospital will be open for Emergency Services only. For more information on this, please contact the hospital directly. As the Home is where many of the most vulnerable members of our population reside, it will no longer be open for all visitors. Instead only the designated caretaker will be allowed to be in contact with the residents.
Other services such as grocery stores, the Pharmacy, Saba Electric Company, Satel, Financial services, such as RBC and accounting firms, the gas station, construction companies, hardware stores, mechanical services and accommodations will all continue. Restaurants can remain open, but only for take-out or delivery services. All bars and nights clubs will be required to close. Our local bakeries may continue to supply their products to the grocery stores, but may not offer any other services.
Cargo services will also continue and at this point are not expected to be affected. There is currently a surplus of food supply on the island, and we therefore strongly encourage you to NOT over-purchase regular products or medicines.
Schools and Day Care
These measures mean that schools, the day care center and after school programs will also be closed for the next 3 weeks. The Easter Holiday will now occur during the week of April 6th through April 9th. While the school will be closed for students beginning tomorrow, teachers will be required to use Thursday March 19th and Friday March 20th, to prepare packages for their students which can be used for continued learning purposes. The Public Library will also be closed.
The Day Care center will also be closed to the general public. Parents that are required to carry out their regular work schedule are encouraged to find a caretaker to care for their children at home, in order to continue to limit social interaction.
For the businesses and services which will remain open, we request that you practice social distancing by implementing shift schedules and working from home whenever possible. We also encourage persons to utilize online banking to make payments or pay bills when able to. We want to minimalize crowd gatherings, as much as possible. If there is no urgent need for you to be out in areas where these occur, please adhere to this measure to help us ensure that these preventative measures are effective.
In addition to these measures, effective tomorrow, Thursday March 19th, all persons coming to Saba, regardless of their country of origin and destination, will have to go in mandatory quarantine. Exempted from this are returning medical personnel and persons who are responsible for transporting cargo to and from Saba.
To summarize essential businesses will remain open with new social distance practices. When it is possible to work and study from home, it is strongly encouraged. All other nonessential businesses including schools, day care, after school programs and bars will be closed. Lastly, all persons entering Saba effective tomorrow will have to go into mandatory quarantine.
Please keep in mind that, as we have mentioned before, this is an ever-changing situation, which is not only affecting us but also our regional partners and the world. The environment and situation around us continue to rapidly evolve meaning we have to adjust our measures and the information that is being communicated to the public to reflect this. As there are new developments, we will continue to update you accordingly. Therefore, please continue to remain informed via our Government Information Services. We realize that some of the measures outlined in this message will have implications and will inconvenience many, however we strongly advise you to comply with them. As a government and as a society we all have a responsibility to ensure that we do all that we can to keep COVID-19 from entering our island.
Public Entity Saba.