Minister of French Overseas Territories, Annick Girardin. (Alain Jocard, Getty Images)
MARIGOT–French Overseas Minister Annick Girardin stated Sunday, that in agreement with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, she has decided that measures he announced on Saturday will apply to the territories of St. Martin, St. Barths, and St. Pierre et Miquelon.
Schools have already been ordered to close as of Monday, March 16.
In addition, “places receiving non-essential public access” will be closed until further notice, she said without being specific. Based on the Prime Minister’s orders, this is understood to be restaurants and bars. However, when contacted by The Daily Herald last night President Daniel Gibbs said this particular point will be clarified for St. Martin on Monday at the meetings in the Préfecture.
Girardin held a work meeting via video conference with préfets of each territory and representatives of the ARS health agencies of Guadeloupe, French Guiana, La Reunion, Mayotte, St. Barths, St. Martin and St. Pierre et Miquelon to evaluate the application of prevention measures to stem the entry and spread of coronavirus, and measures to protect the most vulnerable.
The minister asked the préfets, in collaboration with health agency ARS and elected officials in the territories to take all useful initiatives to adapt the measures to the realities of each territory and put in place additional measures for daily life.
“As you know, France has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. The President of the Republic took strong measures on Thursday, which were completed last night by the Prime Minister,” she said in a video address.
“We must do everything we can to stop the spread of this virus. And to do this, we must first of all show solidarity by respecting the gestures that are barriers against the virus. These gestures are essential, they are simple, let us respect them. I insist on this point, I appeal to your citizenship. I know that it is difficult to give up certain habits, but it is nevertheless essential. Our overseas territories are not spared by this pandemic, which comes on top of the epidemic of dengue fever for some.”
The minister said all services essential to the life of citizens will remain open and she asked citizens to limit their movements to what is strictly necessary.
“I have a thought for all the children, who from tomorrow will stay at home. I remind you that this is not a holiday and that in conjunction with the Rectorat, the heads of the schools and the teachers will organise educational continuity.
“The Prime Minister has made it clear that what we need to do right now is simply avoid gatherings as much as possible. We must pay attention to fragile people. They must be protected. I call on internet companies to massively develop telework to allow as many people as possible to stay in their homes, starting Monday.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/closure-frenchside-restaurants-and-bars-under-consideration