Speech by Island Governor Edison Rijna on March 5th 2021
Press Release OLB
Kralendijk - Bondia,
The number of people with COVID-19 has increased significantly in the last week. The situation is more serious than it was last time. There are multiple clusters, multiple unknown sources and the spread seems to be accelerating. Doctor Marian Luinstra Passchier will elaborate on this in a moment. As a result, drastic measures must be taken to prevent the virus from spreading any further on Bonaire. I have decided that we will move up to risk Level 5. This morning I am going to explain what this means for each of us.
Risk Level 5 means that contact with other people will be limited. Only one person from another household is allowed to visit. Anyone who is able to, is urged to work from home. The hospitality industry will be closed for anything other than take- away, and this will only be possible until ten o'clock in the evening. Events are not allowed. Only one member of a household may go to the supermarket to do shopping. Only essential shops, such as supermarkets and building material stores will remain open. Non-essential shops, such as clothing stores will remain closed. We are urgently requesting that church services or masses are not held with any people present. These services should be held online. People in a profession, where there is contact with others, are not allowed to continue to work. This means, for example, nail technicians providing manicures and pedicures, hairdressers and physiotherapists. The risk of infection is too great. Casinos, lottery offices and saunas will also be closed. As far as sports are concerned, only outdoor sports are permitted. Competitions are not allowed. Training is permitted, but only at a safe distance from others and not in large groups. So, for example, teams cannot compete or train with each other. Since indoor sports are not permitted, it is good to keep exercising outdoors during this time. This is important for your physical and mental health. For a list of measures, an explanation of which sports can and cannot be practiced and a list of essential shops, please visit www.bonairecrisis.com.
Risk Level 5 also has consequences for our children and the elderly. Primary schools, after-school care and childcare will remain open. Parents who drop off and collect their children must keep a distance of 1.5 meters from each other. As far as secondary schools and secondary-school students attending after-school programs are concerned; the number of students in the classrooms will be limited and the schools will be encouraged to teach online. For our elderly who go to day care, only emergency care is allowed to be open.
A few weeks ago we started to allow passengers from Bonaire to stay overnight on Curacao without having to undergo a PCR test for their return. Now that we have moved up to risk Level 5 this will no longer be possible as of next Monday. Everyone who comes to Bonaire from Curacao will be required to undergo a PCR test.
There are certain activities that will continue. Among other things, the vaccination program will keep going. This week we started vaccinating people aged 60 years and older. This will continue. People who come to get their vaccination may bring a companion. In order to contain the virus it is essential to be vaccinated. The parliamentary elections will take place on Wednesday 17 March and voting will be possible on Bonaire. This process will also go ahead, even though we have gone up to Level 5. We will make sure that people will be able to adhere to the coronavirus rules, so that everyone can vote in a safe manner.
The new measures will remain in effect until 19 March. After 19 March the Easter celebrations will be upon us. It is a tradition that during Holy Week people take time off to go camping at places such as the sea side. This will not be possible this year. Do not let the virus get an opportunity to continue to spread any further.
These measures have been implemented in order to protect our community and so that we can return to a lower risk level as soon as possible. We continue to ask everyone to keep a distance of 1.5 meters from each other and to adhere to the basic hygiene rules. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth, and avoid large groups of people. This is the only way to prevent becoming infected.