SABA–After four weeks of being confined to home, Saba residents came out of a lockdown at midnight Saturday. Bars, restaurants and churches were allowed to reopen after midnight, while all other businesses and services may open their doors today, Monday, May 11. School will resume on May 18.
The introduction of the coronavirus and the first COVID-19 case, a local transmission, early April made it necessary for the public entity Saba to take drastic measures, also in light of the small community’s vulnerability and limited medical facilities. Per midnight April 12, a lockdown went into effect. Before that, schools had already closed, as well as the island’s borders.
After four weeks of staying at home, Island Governor Jonathan Johnson on Friday shared the good news that the virus seemed to be contained and that the transition to opening back up would start. So far, there is no indication that the virus is spreading, as Saba remains at two positive cases, with one now recovered.
Per Sunday, restaurants were allowed to open for dine-in, and churches could have services while adhering to hygiene measures and physical distancing. All other services and businesses may reopen as of today.
Store owners received a letter in which they and their employees were thanked for providing the community with groceries during the lockdown. Suggestions offered as a guidance to store owners when they reopen include: limiting the number of customers to facilitate adequate physical distancing (one client per 10 square metres); use of hand sanitiser before entering the store; having signage and markers to maintain physical distancing at the cashier; the promotion of payment by bank card; urging customers not to unnecessarily touch products; and disinfecting shopping baskets/carts.
Elderly customers should receive priority in the waiting line. Employees should hand-sanitise often, and those who are unwell should be sent home.
Churches are urged to limit the number of persons inside and to take measures to allow for sufficient physical distancing with markers. Other measures stated in the letter that the churches received included having hand sanitisers at the entrance and the disinfection of benches.
Owners of bars and restaurants received a letter from the island governor as well. These establishments may only have a maximum of 25 persons inside. As suggestions to have a safe reopening, owners were urged to thoroughly clean and disinfect the establishment before opening and to continuously disinfect all surfaces that are touched by the public and staff once they reopen.
The seating layout should allow for proper physical distancing. Other suggested measures included having customers sanitise their hands at the entrance and requesting people to pay with their bank card.
Schools, day- and afterschool-care and activities will resume on Monday, May 18.
Island Governor Johnson urged everyone to continue to adhere to the measures in place to ensure that all the efforts of the past weeks were not made in vain.
“Physical distancing, where possible, is expected of everyone as well as adhering to guidelines that government and business owners will have in place for their safety and the safety of the community. COVID-19 continues to be a threat. Therefore, while we are working towards having normal activities resume, we must continue to practise physical distancing and strict hygiene measures,” he said.
Bron; Daily Herald