COVID-19 / Daniel Gibbs: "Let us be vigilant, let us be responsible"!

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As part of the restriction measures related to COVID19 on the territory, the president of the Community, Daniel Gibbs wished to address the population of Saint-Martin.

• My dear fellow citizens,

“We are going through a new health crisis this time, a major crisis with unprecedented global repercussions.

Several European countries, including France, have been hit hard by the spread of this new virus.

Again, our self-denial is severely tested in the face of a devious, but very real threat, which could directly affect what is most precious to us: our health.

For the good of all, to protect yourself and your loved ones, I ask you to follow seriously and carefully, the restrictive measures decreed by the President of the Republic to fight against the spread of the Coronavirus Covid 19.

The virus is on our doorstep, it is spreading in Martinique and Guadeloupe where the cases have increased tenfold in recent days.

We must do everything in our power to prevent it from spreading on our territory. The containment measures that took effect on Tuesday March 17 from noon must be applied in Saint-Martin with the utmost rigor by each of you.

This is a serious hour and we must take this threat seriously and act responsibly, as we have been able to do in the past in other circumstances. So, you are asked today to minimize your travel. Only food and essential supplies, travel related to health and work, are authorized.

Our children are expected to stay at home until further notice. At home does not mean left to their own devices. Teachers have prepared homework at home, so children must continue distance education and remain confined and supervised.

This is why I ask you to be particularly attentive and to ensure that your children are kept at home, safe, and also informed of protective actions.

As far as possible, companies are invited to set up a teleworking system to avoid overcrowding in the workplace and allow employees to stay at home. If your structure is unable to apply this device, I ask you to scrupulously follow the barrier measures recommended by the Regional Health Agency. For a simple reason: avoid exposing your employees and your customers.

I remind you that as of noon Tuesday, companies exercising non-essential professions as presented in the government decree of March 14, 2020 must cease all activity for a period of 15 days (renewable if necessary).

Companies not included in this restrictive list can continue to carry on their activity while taking the basic measures to combat the spread of Covid19 within their structure.

Telework is strongly recommended. Travel which cannot be postponed or which is essential for the pursuit of professional activities is authorized on presentation of a derogatory travel certificate. It is imperative that we comply with these government guidelines.

I know the effort required of our companies in these new circumstances, when they have already courageously gone through many difficulties since Irma.

It is a considerable test which will have important repercussions on our economic fabric and therefore on our jobs.

This is why I will be attentive to the measures that will be announced over the next few hours by the government as part of support for businesses in mainland and overseas.

We met with economic authorities on Monday March 16 to discuss it.

If this proves to be insufficient, the Collectivity undertakes to supplement these emergency measures, as far as possible, with specific measures locally.

Saint-Martin is a particularly vulnerable cramped binational territory. Cooperation with Sint Maarten is therefore essential, we discussed it together with Prime Minister Sylvéria Jacobs and Madam the Prefect, Monday afternoon, in order to be able to harmonize our decisions as much as possible. Air traffic restriction measures have been taken. No tourists are allowed to enter Sint Maarten on international flights. However, these flights will allow our Saint-Martin nationals who wish to return to Saint-Martin to return to our island before the end of this week. These people must respect their confinement for 14 days at home to avoid any risk of transmission. I would add that no more cruise ships are allowed to dock on our island.

Passengers returning from cruises are asked to make themselves known upon arrival at the airport. Inter-island shuttles are also reduced to the strict minimum under border police control.

Too many still are our fellow citizens who do not respect the precautionary measures despite repeated warnings from the authorities. Collective and individual awareness is therefore necessary and urgent. The safety and health of everyone is at stake.

Each of our gestures must be measured. We must protect our children who are targets of the virus as well as our seniors who are particularly vulnerable. In this sense, we have taken protective measures by closing the schools until further notice and by restricting visits to residents of our EHPAD Bethany Home, the time to return to a controlled situation.

I also invite everyone to be reasonable, sea freight works and the supply of food and basic necessities is therefore not in question. So do not panic, keep distances in the queues and avoid crowds in shops.

Public services are organized. The Community has decided to close all services and public structures until further notice, with the exception of certain priority services for which a hotline is set up to ensure the continuity of public service and respond urgent needs. A press release was issued to clarify these terms.

• Chers amis,

We are with my team and the staff of the Collectivity fully mobilized on the prevention of Cvid19 and particularly attentive to the evolution of the international health crisis which affects us.

During the coming weeks, I ask you to take the measure of this crisis and to radically change your habits by calculating each of your gestures, avoiding family and friendly gatherings, to protect you, but also protect your children, your entourage and your neighbor.

Let us be vigilant, be responsible, follow the precautionary measures carefully, and stay tuned for official news bulletins. ”

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