Non-essential businesses in St. Eustatius have been declared closed under the emergency ordinance that was introduced by the Public Entity to combat the coronavirus crisis pandemic. The ordinance remains in place until Wednesday, April 15, 2020.
Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij said the upscaling of the state of emergency is needed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, worldwide and in the region. This is the third emergency ordinance since the first one was enacted on March 18.
Non-essential businesses and services present a high risk regarding the spread of COVID-19 and therefore specific businesses and services are not allowed to open from April 3 until April 15.
The public is advised that the emergency ordinance has limited the number of persons that can gather in one place to 15. This number previously was 25.
In large supermarkets, a maximum of 15 persons are allowed inside including employees, at a distance of 1.5 metres. In smaller stores the number of people allowed inside at the same time is five, with a distance of 1.5 metres between them at all times.
All bars and restaurants are closed except for takeout and delivery. Bars, also inside restaurants, are closed but restaurants can still provide takeout and delivery to customers. Bakeries can only provide takeout and delivery.
The casino, nightclubs and other dance establishments as well as adults-entertainment businesses are closed. Recreational centres, the St. Eustatius Historical Foundation’s Simon Doncker Museum, indoor- and outdoor-gym facilities are also closed.
Hairdressing salons, barbershops, nail salons, spas, conference facilities and outdoor establishments that accommodate events, retail stores and clothing stores are closed as well.
Van Rij said that some businesses have closed their doors. “The government appreciates and understand how difficult this is for businesses,” he said.
The commissioner said the Public Entity St. Eustatius is not expecting any shortages in cash money and in the delivery of gasoline. Windward Islands Bank (WIB) has requested customers to use their debit or credit cards to make payments instead of using cash. The bank has also adjusted its hours of operation. The bank closes its doors to the public at 12:00pm.
At this time government is not instituting a curfew, but should the situation arise that a curfew is needed, authorities would impose a curfew, the government commissioner said. Van Rij added that when persons observe the social-distancing rules and follow the emergency ordinance guidelines this will take “a lot of pressure” off the local police and fire departments.
Van Rij stated that the island government will be providing “the same quality of service” to residents via telephone and online. Government departments are working on adapted schedules. The public entity is asking the public not to visit the commissioner’s offices, but to call tel. 318-2552 for information and requests. The public is advised to use Skype or other online or telephone services to conduct meetings instead of meeting in person.
The St. Eustatius Labour Department has adapted its hours of operation until further notice. The office will be open to the public from 7:30am to 12:00pm.
Clients of the Food Bank programme can collect their food bonds between 8:00am and 11:00am. They will be contacted by phone to set an appointment for when the food bonds can be picked up.
Persons seeking employment can leave their contact information by calling tel. 318-2881 during opening hours from 7:30 am until 4:00pm and businesses who want to register a vacancy can do so via email email@example.com. For urgent matters the department can be reached by calling tel. 319-5921, or send a WhatsApp message.
The Daily Herald.