To continue providing service to the community the public entity St. Eustatius has introduced internal measures to safeguard its workers during the current coronavirus COVID-19 global pandemic, while at the same time allowing vital functions to continue providing service.
Measures were taken in connection with the decisions to close schools and the closure of day-care and afterschool services. Employees with children up to and including 12 years old, especially those working in vital functions who cannot work from home without proper care for their children, are currently working in morning or afternoon shifts.
To adhere to social distancing, government offices are now manned by fewer persons. Computers have been relocated to the home, where civil servants continue to carry out their daily tasks and assignments.
With schools being closed, civil servants are given the option to select a safe and trustworthy babysitter for which the cost will be reimbursed. Employees in vital functions can hire childcare service for their children.
Employees can arrange this on their own with a friend, family member or someone they consider fit to care for their child in their absence. The government employee can declare the hours which are paid to the employee, who in turn can pay the babysitter. Fee for the service rendered is a maximum US $10 per hour.
The essential functions within the government organisation are Island Secretary; communication advisor; information and protocol; technical employee; social media specialist/all-round communication advisor; director of social domain; (assistant) social workers; Health Department doctors and nurses; manager of social support; front office and information technology employees; Health and Economy inspectors; veterinarian; butchers; and cleaners.
Meetings of civil servants will take place at a distance, through online communication tools such as Zoom or Skype. Opening hours of public offices have been adjusted.
The public is encouraged to contact agencies by telephone or email and pay outstanding bills by digital transfer, rather than cash.
All these steps are to allow the public entity to keep delivering vital services, while conforming to measures of the Emergency Ordinance, including social distancing and avoiding groups of more than 15 persons.
The Daily Herald.