Deputy Government Commissioner Alida Francis.
ST. EUSTATIUS–Due to low vaccination numbers there is still a chance of an outbreak of COVID-19 in St. Eustatius. Therefore, the public entity St. Eustatius has put a restrictive policy in place for organising major events in July. These are Emancipation Day on July 1 and Carnival 2021 which will be taking place at the end of July.
Deputy Government Commissioner Alida Francis said the Public Health Department has all protocols in place in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 on the island. However, as vaccination numbers are low, should there be an outbreak, especially in unvaccinated families, everyone needs to be restrictive when organising large events.
“The public entity is striving to have two main events on the island in the coming months,” Francis said. Emancipation Day on July 1 will be a public holiday in Statia for the first time. Carnival is usually held for 10 days, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic it will be limited to one week.
The public entity announced in March that Carnival could go on if there were no outbreaks of COVID-19 in Statia and that no permission would be given to host any other large events during that same period. Francis said these decisions were made to give the people on the island some much-needed time for a break and to celebrate, but at the same time prevent any super-spreader event, as Statia is not equipped to handle any outbreak of the virus.
“Therefore, the public entity continues to discuss contingency plans with the organising committees to ensure that the two events – Emancipation Day and Carnival – are organised as safely as possible,” Francis said.
The island government is relying on the public to help keep the island as safe as possible by adhering to basic rules when participating in events.
“To keep the risk of an outbreak controlled, we will not give permission for any other large events in July,” Francis said. “I know for some of you this may come as disappointing news, but I know that the majority of you do understand that there is no alternative.”
Statia is hoping to reach phase four of herd immunity by vaccinating 2,000 of 2,500 registered adults on the island, which is 80 per cent of the adult population.
Currently, there are 1,031 fully vaccinated adults in Statia. Francis said an additional 219 persons would need to be fully vaccinated to achieve 50 per cent of vaccinated adults, which would enable moving to phase three.
In phase three, everyone can visit Statia, including tourists. Visitors must be fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated persons can also enter the island, but must go into quarantine for 10 days.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/july-events-limited-to-carnival-2021-and-emancipation-day