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Speech by Island Governor Edison Rijna on January 2nd

Kralendijk – Dear People,

 

First of all I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year and a 2021 blessed with prosperity and health. I am disappointed that the New Year has begun with some bad news. Today there are 17 new cases of people infected with the virus. As of today we now have a total of 46 active cases and the first patient has been admitted in hospital. This is serious and it concerns me. Especially because everything indicates that the virus is among us and it has not only been brought in by people from the outside.

 

In the past I have stated several times that we will apply stricter measures should the number of new COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

We are also taking into consideration that the numbers may increase even more since -at this moment- we do not know how many people became infected during the turn of the year.

We currently have 17 new cases and 46 active cases. It is time for stricter measures.

 

From Sunday 3 January up to and including Monday 18 January the following measures will apply:

(All measures pertaining to level 3 are regulated by the Governor’s Resolution and the COVID-19 Temporary Measures Act.)

 

Gatherings at home are allowed up to a maximum of 10 people. Children under 13 are not included in this number. The elderly and people with chronic illnesses are advised to stay at home.

Hospitality establishments may not use more than half of their capacity. Guests must use fixed seats. Hospitality establishments must close at 10 p.m. Discotheques and sex establishment will remain closed.

Saunas, casinos and cinemas may remain open but must only use up to half their capacity. Casinos must stop serving drinks to their guests at 10 p.m. and they must close at midnight.

We would like to request all churches and places of worship to admit only 50% of their potential churchgoers during services and celebrations. In addition, our recommendation for everyone is not to sing and to go home immediately after the event.

Indoor sports activities are allowed, but only fifty percent of the location capacity may be used for the activities. There are no restrictions for outdoor sports. There are no spectators allowed during the sports activities and after the activities have ended everyone has to go home immediately.

It is recommended to work from home as much as possible. People in contact-professions, such as hairdressers or people who work in a nail salon, are allowed to continue working as long as they wear face masks.

All shops may remain open but a maximum of two people per household may enter at a time.

Day care centers and all schools will remain open as usual but all adults must keep a distance of 1.5 meters from each other.

The promulgated emergency ordinance will remain valid until 18 January. As you will recall, commencing December last, the emergency ordinance exclusively determines the rules for people who want to travel to Bonaire. Those rules continue to apply. Everyone who comes to Bonaire must have had a PCR test with a negative result and all travelers must also complete a health declaration form for the Public Health Department.

 

We have a responsibility to keep Bonaire safe and to protect ourselves and others.

The Public Health Department is doing everything in its power to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. We can only achieve this if everyone joins forces. Keep 1.5 meters distance away from others and adhere to the hygiene instructions such as sneezing or coughing into your elbow and avoiding groups of people. If the numbers continue to rise, even stricter measures will have to be implemented.

 

As I said, this year has started with some bad news. It is now up to us to ensure that the COVID-19 situation on Bonaire does not get worse and worse each day. We live on a small island and our medical care is limited. Therefore, protect yourself and those around you. Make sure that your mother, your father, aunt, uncle, grandparents, friends and acquaintances remain safe. Last September, when we had a similar spike in COVID-19 cases, we were able to get it under control quickly. This time around I am certain that we will succeed to do so again.

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