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Speech by Island Governor Edison Rijna on August 26th 2021

Kralendijk – Dear People,

In recent weeks, the number of active Covid infections has remained low and stable. There are currently 20 active cases on Bonaire. However, because we are still threatened with an outbreak with the highly contagious Delta variant, it is not justifiable to relax the current measures as yet. We will, therefore, extend the current risk level 2 measures until 1 October, 2021.

Among other things, this means that no more than 50 people may come together in a private setting and events may only take place with up to a maximum of 100 people. For more information, please visit bonairecrisis.com.

I would like to call on all in the hospitality sector not to organize large parties and to adhere to the basic measures. In our neighboring countries of Curacao and Aruba we have seen that parties in the hospitality sector are often a source of outbreaks. I want to remind you that all indoor dance parties are forbidden.

However, if the infection numbers allow it,  we would like to enable more people to come together within a few weeks. This is why we are preparing to allow events with more than 100 people. The idea is that events will be possible for people who have been vaccinated or who have been tested shortly before the event. We will provide more information about this soon.

Last week we announced that Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten have become high-risk countries. Travelers from those islands, who have been fully vaccinated, are now also required to undergo a test before entering. From tomorrow on, Curacao also considers Bonaire to be high risk. Travelers who travel back and forth from Bonaire to Aruba and Curacao within 48 hours of taking a test, do not need to undergo another test for their return trip. Their test before departure from Bonaire will still be valid.

Bonaire has temporarily lifted the bubble with Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten. This was necessary because the infection rates on these islands are very high and there is, therefore, a greater risk that infected people may board the plane. As soon as the numbers allow, we will see whether we can reinstate the bubble between the islands.

This week schools have started again. I would like to ask all students, teachers and other people who work in the schools to adhere to the basic school rules established by the Public Health Department. I would also like to appeal to all parents and students between the ages of 12 and 18 that these young people go to be vaccinated this Saturday during a special event at the Kompleho Deportivo Jorge Nicolaas sports hall. Vaccinations are possible from nine in the morning until two in the afternoon.

After a long time,  the first cruise ship will return to Bonaire on 2 September. From then on, cruise ships will be mooring here regularly. We have established a special policy, which all passengers must comply with in order to be allowed to disembark. The cruise lines also have strict rules themselves. For example, passengers are only allowed on board with a negative test result and unvaccinated people must undergo a test again shortly before arrival on Bonaire. We are convinced that in this way we will be able to receive the ships on our island safely.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is with a heavy heart that I must announce that this year it will unfortunately not be possible to celebrate Dia di Boneiru in the grand manner we are used to. Most cultural activities will be canceled due to the risk of too many people coming together. The official part will take place in modified form.

We can be proud that we have not had an outbreak lately, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We have to keep in mind that we could still have an outbreak at any moment. That is why you must stay alert, keep your distance, get tested immediately if you have symptoms and adhere to the measures. And if you have not been vaccinated yet, get vaccinated as soon as possible.

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