Welcome to the crisis website of the Public Entity Bonaire. This website is online when there is a crisis. That is why you can now find all information about COVID-19 on this website.

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Q&A’s residents

Last update: January 16th 2021

This information has been compiled by the Public Entity of Bonaire (OLB) in collaboration with the Public Health Department Bonaire and other organizations.

The list is continually updated. The developments surrounding COVID-19 are unpredictable; situations, rules and circumstances may change at any moment.

For the latest news please see the OLB press releases on its Facebook page.

If you have a question that is not yet included in the list, please e-mail it to info@bonairegov.com

No rights can be derived from the information on the Q&A list. 

Households

Why has it been strongly advised that people should work from home as much as possible?

The Public Health Department expects that the number of infections may increase after the holidays. Many people travel abroad and many people visit our island from elsewhere. During the holidays people either remain at home or they visit others. Should someone become infected without being aware of it and should this person then go into the office after the holidays, this could lead to a rise of infections in early January. To avoid this eventuality, it is advised to work from home as much as possible.

Is it allowed to have private meetings and to organize and attend events?

A distinction is made between private meetings and professionally organized events.

For private meetings the rules are as follows:
* It is only permitted for people from a maximum of two households to get together in a private setting at home or in a public space (children under 13 years old are not included in the count);
* Attendees must keep at least 1.5 meters distance from the person closest to them at all times.

For professionally organized events the rules are as follows:
* For professional events a permit must be applied for and obtained in advance;
* A maximum of 25 people may be present (this also includes staff);
* A maximum of only 50% of the available space may be used;
* Attendees must keep at least 1.5 meters distance from the person standing nearest to them;
* All guests must be registered;
* Anyone professionally organizing an event must also comply with the relevant laws and regulations.

In both cases (privately and professionally) singing and dancing is prohibited and strict hygiene requirements must be observed in accordance with the Public Health Department’s guidelines.
The elderly and people with chronic illnesses are advised to stay at home.

Companies

What are the rules the hospitality sector needs to comply with in order to open?

The requirements for the hospitality sector are:

• a maximum of 4 people are allowed at each table (children under 13 years old are not included in the count);
* there have to be predetermined seats;
* only half of the number of seats on the premises may be used;
• while on the premises everyone must keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters from the person closest to them at all times;
• everyone must adhere to strict hygiene rules as determined by the Bonaire Public Health Department;
• a record must be kept of the guests and guests must answer a few questions about their health. Guest names and contact details (phone number or e-mail address) must be noted. This is necessary in order to facilitate contact or source tracing should it be required at a later date. These records must be kept for a minimum of 14 and a maximum of 21 days. Guest privacy must be respected so these records must be stored in such a way that guest privacy is protected at all times;
• hospitality establishments must close no later than 22:00 p.m.;
• there may be no singing or dancing.

What are the rules that businesses have to adhere to?

The requirements for businesses are as follows:
*It is recommended to work from home as much as possible;
* the workspace is arranged in such a way that it complies with the rules of the Public Health Department. This means that employees must be able to keep a distance of 1.5 meters from each other;
* If it is not possible to keep a distance of 1.5 meters from each other, face masks must be worn;
* In addition, businesses must adhere to the rules concerning hygiene. Supplementary rules may apply to specific lines of business. For more information see the site: https://www.bonairecrisis.com/en/measures and the document Measures for companies.

How are stores and the hospitality sector monitored?

Inspectors from the Supervision and Enforcement Directorate and police officers from KPCN carry out inspections. Anyone who does not follow the rules can be fined.

What are the rules for stores?

We differentiate between essential stores such as supermarkets, bakeries, pharmacies, stores with building materials and nonessential stores such as clothing stores and car washes.
Currently, for both types of store the following rules apply:
The basic rules such as keeping 1.5 meters distance from each other, avoiding crowded spaces and regularly washing hands. You may find details of the basic rules at: https://www.bonairecrisis.com/requirements/

In addition, at both types of store a maximum of two people per household may enter at the same time, children under 13 years old are not included in the count. The use of a cart/basket is mandatory.

Since circumstances are different for different stores, store keepers are expected to establish their own door policy. Stores may also require customers to wear face masks and use hand sanitizer. This is not imposed by the government; store keepers may determine this for themselves.

What are the requirements for offices?

The requirements for offices are as follows:
• It has been strongly advised that people should work from home as much as possible;
•In the office everyone must adhere to the rules as determined by the Bonaire Public Health Department;
• Employees must keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters from each other and wash their hand regularly with soap and water;
• Employees must wear face masks if they are unable to keep sufficient distance from their colleagues.
Alternatively, it is an option to decide to work from home so that there are less people in the office and keeping a safe distance from each other is easier;
• Office spaces must be aired at least twice a day for a minimum of 20 minutes.

Are hairdressers and people in contact professions allowed to work now that Bonaire has been determined to be at risk level 4?

Yes, it is allowed for hairdressers and people in contact professions such as physiotherapists, nail salon employees, masseurs and dental hygienists to work. Contact professions involve close physical contact with customers. Therefore, hairdressers and others in contact professions must wear a face mask while working. They must also ensure that customers and employees in waiting rooms and treatment rooms are able to keep a sufficient distance from each other. It is recommended to schedule appointments well apart in order to have as few people as possible in a room at the same time. If there are several rooms on the premises it is preferable to spread the customers /people out.

What are the requirements casinos and cinemas needs to comply with in order to open?

These are the requirements:
*casinos and ad cinemas must close no later than 00.00 p.m.;
* there must be predetermined seats;
* only a maximum of 50% of these seats may be occupied;
* guests must keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters from each other at all times;
*casinos and cinemas must adhere to hygiene rules as determined by the Bonaire Public Health Department;
* casinos and cinemas must keep a record of their guests, and guests are required to answer a few questions about their health before entering;
* from 22.00 p.m. till midnight casinos and cinema’s may not serve any food or beverages.

How do I calculate how many customers may enter my business premises?

Work on the assumption that every customer takes up approximately 10 m2 floor space in your store. For example, your store is 10 meters by 15 meters so the floor surface is 150 m2. In this case a maximum of 15 customers are allowed in your store at the same time. The business owners themselves are responsible for ensuring that they have the right number of customers on their premises.
Not all stores are set up or used in the same way. The Supervision and Enforcement Directorate can provide advice in this matter. For more information call 0800-0800 or 717-4800.

Am I responsible for my customer’s behavior when they are in my store?

You should operate on the principle that the measures you put in place should make it so that your customers have to behave in a Covid-proof way. More information: https://www.bonairecrisis.com/en/measures/

May businesses require visitors to wear face masks?

Yes, business owners may decide for themselves which EXTRA rules they want to implement. It is, however, important to ensure face masks are used properly. Instructions on how to use a face mask correctly you will find on: https://www.bonairecrisis.com/en/communication/ in the document: Advice on face masks.

What is a door policy?

This is a policy in which a business determines for example: how many people are allowed to be on the premises at the same time; how people should enter and leave the premises; what the hygiene rules are; how people are expected to pay; and -if necessary- how customers are registered. This may be different for different places of business. You may find more about this at: https://www.bonairecrisis.com/en/measures/ in the document: Health check for catering and contact professions.

What does the hospitality-sector health check entail?

A health check in the hospitality sector requires people to first answer questions before they are allowed in. This is done to ascertain whether any customer has coronavirus-related symptoms: to ascertain whether a person has been tested and is still waiting for the result; or to determine whether someone should actually be in isolation because they are infected. It may even be possible that a person who wants to enter should -in fact- be quarantined. If someone answers one of the questions with a “Yes”, that person will not be allowed in and will be urged to go home. See also: https://www.bonairecrisis.com/measures/

What are the rules for gyms and sportmatches?

Gyms and fitness clubs may be open if they adhere to the following requirements:
* The gym/ fitness club must not exceed a maximum occupancy of 50% of its usual capacity. Staff is included in this calculation;
* People in the gym/ fitness club keep at least 1.5 meters distance from each other at all times;
* The gym/ fitness club adheres to the rules of hygiene as determined by the Public Health Department;
* The gym/ fitness club registers all visitors and they undergo a health check at the entrance;
*It is recommended to go home immediately after sporting.

Sports matches and competitions are not permitted.

How is it checked that the corona rules are being followed at places of business?

The staff, supervisors and owners of the buildings are responsible to ensure the rules are adhered to. It is not possible to monitor every single place on a daily basis. The Supervision and Enforcement Directorate may take action if the rules in public spaces are not complied with. Where offices are concerned the Labor Inspectorate may take action.

For how long could establishments in the hospitality sector and businesses be closed down, if they do not comply with the rules?

The inspectors of the Supervision and Enforcement Directorate and the Dutch Caribbean Police Force (KPCN) may decide to temporarily close a business in the hospitality sector if it does not comply with the rules. In such cases the business may reopen when it is ready to comply with the rules again. The duration of closure depends on which rules were violated. If a business repeatedly breaks the rules its license may be revoked.

At many snacks, customers do not adhere to the obligatory rule of social distancing by keeping 1.5 meters away from each other. How is this being checked and controlled?

It is the responsibility of snack owners and their customers to obey the rules. The inspectors from the Supervision and Enforcement Directorate and the police are on the road patrolling all the time. They try to reach as many people as possible and point out to them that they have to keep a distance of 1.5 meters from each other and they also make sure that they do so.

What are the requirements the sauna's needs to comply with in order to open?

The requirements for sauna’s are as follows:
* a maximum of only 50% of the available space may be used;
* guests must keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters from each other at all times;
* sauna’s must adhere to hygiene rules as determined by the Bonaire Public Health Department;
* sauna’s must keep a record of their guests, and guests are required to answer a few questions about their health before entering.

Is Pachi's open?

No, all sex establishments are closed from 3 January onwards. The reason for this is the increase in the number of infections.

Do the companies producing and supplying electricity and water have an emergency plan in place in case they have to operate with less people, due to the corona situation?

Yes, contingency plans have been made to ensure that the production and supply of electricity and water remains uninterrupted, even if the situation should occur that essential posts cannot be filled at all, or just partly, due to infections. We are mainly focusing on preventing these types of situations, not just alleviating the consequences of them.

Schools and organizations

The schools remain open. How about schools providing adult education?

It is important that we all try to limit physical and social contact as much as possible. So stay at home as much as possible. Adult education may continue if it is done remotely.

I hear from some parents that they are not sending their children to school because they are afraid of infection. What is the best course of action for me and my child?

The schools remain open. Your child should continue to attend school. Research has shown that it is rare for children to infect each other at school. Teachers adhere to specific rules in order to prevent infection. Teachers keep a 1.5 meter distance from each other. In secondary education they also keep their distance from the students.

How many people have to get infected before tough measures are introduced and the schools are closed?

The Public Health Department continually assesses whether the current measures are sufficient to safeguard everyone. We evaluate all situations, including those in schools. In view of the fact that the risk of students spreading the virus is small, schools will only be closed when the situation is extremely serious. Closing down schools is indeed a serious measure. As long as it is safe to keep the schools open, the Public Health Department will advise to do so. The Public Health Department will only advise to close the schools in a situation when a complete lockdown is being considered. We cannot be sure exactly how many infections will merit this; it will depend on the situation. The Public Health Department needs to remain flexible in order to provide appropriate advice, as there may be other issues at play that cannot be foreseen. Moreover, it is the Governor who makes such decisions, Public Health only provides advice.

Why can’t we continue schooling by providing the lessons virtually (education at a distance)? We have the modern technology to do so. At the moment only the children are taken into account, but what about the teachers and their health?

Education is not only teaching and being taught. The school is a place where children meet each other and other adults, not related to them. School is important for the well-being of children. It is a place where children can develop socially and emotionally in an environment that is different to their homes. That is why it is important to continue education in schools as long as possible. And, of course, as long as it is responsible and safe for the students and teachers. Needless to say we also consider the health of the teachers. If it would not be safe for them we would not keep the schools open. The risk that a student would infect a teacher at school is really very small. It is true that teachers can infect each other but if they keep sufficient distance from one and other and adhere to the hygiene measures – just as it is done in other workplaces- there is no increased risk for them.

There have been teachers who have tested positive. If the schools are under pressure, what will happen then?

When someone tests positive we carefully check where that infection occurred and if the teacher had worked in school while they were already infected. If the teacher in question had been in close contact with other teachers at school, it could happen indeed that several teachers have to be quarantined to ensure safety. If this causes the school to be unable to fill the teaching roster, the school may decide to –partly or completely- arrange education in a different way. Then this would not be because of health reasons but because the school has a shortage of teachers.

Suppose parents have tested positive, but their child has no symptoms. May the child go to school?

If parents have tested positive and can therefore transmit the virus, their child is not allowed to go to school. We know that children can sometimes become infected at home, but we must prevent them from infecting each other, even though they get very mild symptoms and the chance that they infect others is small. Therefore, these children must stay at home for up to 10 days after their last contact with an infected person.

It is recommended to work from home as much as possible. Does this mean that teachers who can arrange “distance learning” are free to do so?

Teachers are deemed to be essential workers, i.e. they are in an indispensable profession. It is important for the development of children that they go to school every day and mix with other pupils there. If teachers have to be in quarantine, it will be determined whether online lessons are feasible.

What happens to parents who refuse to send their children to school?

On Bonaire children have to go to school from the age of four to eighteen. If parents do not send their children to school they will be invited for a personal meeting, during which they will be asked about the reasons why their children are not attending school. During this meeting the best solution to this issue will be discussed with the parents.

Why have you decided not to close the schools, when it has now been proven that children can infect each other at school?

Up until now, all infected children on Bonaire have been infected at home. It has never been said that children cannot be infected at school. It has only been said that the risk of infection at school is very small. It is important for children to go to school, but only -of course- if it is safe for them to do so. At the moment it is safe to send children to school.

What are the requirements for people attending church services, masses and Friday prayers?

During masses, services and Friday evening prayers it is mandatory that all guests must register and submit to a health check.
Only a maximum of 50% of the seats may be occupied.
Those present must sit in predetermined seats and be able to keep a distance of 1.5 meters apart.
Everyone must adhere to strict hygiene rules as determined by the Bonaire Public Health Department;
In addition it is strongly advised not to sing during services.
It is recommended to go home immediately after the event.