Published On: Mon, May 18th, 2020

State of emergency continues but businesses gradually reopen

Phased Re-Opening Chart updated May 16, 2020-page-001

PHILIPSBURG – Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs has extended the state of emergency by six weeks by ministerial decree. The six week period ends on June 21. Citizens are allowed to go shopping only on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. the curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. remains in place.

With the announcement of the extended state of emergency, the ministry of general affairs has published guidelines for its prevention and safety plan that warns businesses “to prepare for the new normal.”

Businesses are allowed to reopen in stages, depending on their risk to public health. In the second phase of the reopening, high-risk services like buses, school buses and taxis, grocery stores, money transfer companies, construction companies, physical therapists and dentists will have to submit their customized prevention and safety plan to taskforce@sintmaartengov.org; they will be allowed to resume their activities upon approval of their plan.

Businesses with a low risk to public health are not specified in the guidelines but they are allowed to open after they have completed their prevention and safety plan; these plans do not need approval but they are subject to inspection.

The guidelines from the ministry focus mainly on social distancing and hygiene. The recommended social distance is 2 meters (or 6 feet, which is actually 1 meter and 83 centimeters) and employers are expected to use markings, appoint floor managers to make sure customers stick to the practice and provide sanitizers.

“There is no need to wear facemasks or gloves when social distancing of two meters is respected,” the guidelines-document states.

Buses will have to operate at 50 percent capacity while taxis are allowed to carry at most two passengers of the same family. Clients must pay the exact amount of their fare, as giving change is prohibited.

In the third phase of reopening the following businesses will be allowed back into operation: tour buses, hair salons, barbershops and nail salons, cinemas and theaters, bars, nightclubs and other dancing establishments, indoor activities like game rooms and kids playrooms, casinos, contact sports (including gyms), recreational centers like dance schools and community centers, weddings, and funerals.

In the fourth stage market vendors, massage parlors and adult entertainment establishments (brothels) will be allowed to reopen.

The dates linked to these stages are not included in the guidelines, but they have been published on the government website. Stage 2-openings are allowed from May 18, stage 3-openings from June 1 and stage-four openings from June 15.

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Related documents:
Minister decree extension state of emergency
Guidelines for prevention and safety plans
Phased Re-Opening Chart updated May 16, 2020