Based on gradual decreasing number of cases Statia eases strict COVID-19 measures
Based on the gradual decreasing number of COVID-19 cases, the Public Entity St. Eustatius will ease the measures as of upcoming Monday, January 17th, 2022. Bars, restaurants and the casino can reopen their doors. A maximum of 15 persons is allowed to be inside the restaurant. This also counts for schools, day care centres and out of school organizations. They will reopen with a maximum of 15 students per class.
Supermarkets and other essential businesses can allow a maximum of 10 persons inside at the same time. Smaller shops can allow 5 persons at the same time. This is the same measure that is currently in place.
Outside dining is allowed with 50% of the maximum capacity.
Non-essential businesses can reopen as well, such as nail salons, barbershops and hair salons. This is only possible with an appointment and the business can accept one customer at the time. These close contact professions must wear face masks and gloves at all times. The non-essentials sector has drawn up a protocol on how they will execute their work in the coming period.
The Public Entity will further work out the details this weekend (January 15th, 2022), what 50% of the capacity in each restaurant means and which measures and protocols correspond with this.
Schools are allowed to reopen but teachers and students must wear face masks and keeping social distance must be reinforced. Only 15 students per class are allowed. The use of air conditioning is not possible ; proper ventilation will be used instead. Regular self-tests for teachers will be introduced. Schools are responsible for their own schedule for re-opening. They will contact parents in the coming days to explain in detail their individual re-opening strategy.
The reason to ease the measures is that the number of positive COVID-19 cases is slowly decreasing. Statia has currently 132 positive cases in isolation. Also, the infections are less severe and the symptoms are generally very mild. In addition, the number of persons needing hospital care is very low: less than 2 percent needed hospitalization up till now. In addition, the request for immediate medical assistance from the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports (VWS) in the Netherlands was granted. The Auxiliary Home, the Public Health Department and the Queen Beatrice Medical Centre now have sufficient general practitioners, doctors, nurses.
Quarantine and isolation
The Public Health Department will keep the intensity of testing and vaccination high. Vaccination will be possible twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays. Testing is possible daily.
The Public Health Department does not see any reason to extend the strict quarantine and isolation measures. That is why these measures will be eased as well. After a person is tested positive, isolation of 10 days is mandatory, instead of the current 14 days. On The 10th day persons can be released after a negative antigen test. If the test is positive a re-test will be done every 3 days.
If someone was in contact with a person who tested positive, quarantine of 10 days with an antigen test on the 10th day is needed. This applies to both vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals. Going into quarantine upon arrival after being in the same airplane with someone who tested positive, is not required anymore. Latter was introduced because it was insufficiently clear how contagious the virus was and its effects. This strict measure is not necessary anymore.
The entry policy will remain the same until the 1st of February 2022. Vaccinated persons are required to go into 5 days monitoring as is the case now. An exit test on the 5th day stays in place as well.
Non vaccinated person must go into quarantine for 10 days with an exit test on the 10th day.
With the easing of measures, the Public Entity of St. Eustatius creates a balance between public health, social life and the continuation of economic life. The current protocol of wearing face masks, proper ventilation in all indoor premises, social distancing, and hygiene measures is however still applicable.
Social distancing of 1.5 meter, hygienic measures and wearing a face mask should be strictly adhered to when in contact with people and in public spaces. “While we ease the measures, Statian residents are asked not to let their guard down. Covid is present on the island. We continue to have an individual as well as a collective responsibility to do our part in the fight against COVID’, says Alida Francis, Government Commissioner.
The easing of the measures was decided upon after careful deliberation with all stakeholders: the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports (VWS), the Public Health Department, the Crisis Team, the Island Council, the St. Eustatius Business Association, the Tourism sector, school principals/management and church leaders.