Préfet Gouteyron (right) said he regretted to report that COVID-19 deaths have now risen to 39. (Robert Luckock photo)
MARIGOT—Préfet Délegué Serge Gouteyron stated Friday at a press conference that the sale and consumption of alcohol on the public highway is now banned between the hours of 6:00pm (effective Friday) until 6:00am until further notice.
This is an additional measure to fight spread of the COVID-19 virus and is implemented due to the deteriorating health situation in St. Barths and a persistently high occupancy rate of COVID patients in the Louis-Constant Fleming Hospital.
The measure is intended to prevent unannounced private gatherings of people generally associated with consumption of alcohol, that is conducive to people dropping their guard when it comes to applying protective measures such as keeping a distance and wearing a mask. The Gendarmerie will be checking that this measure is enforced.
At the same time, the Préfet reminds all inhabitants that simple gestures, such as the use of sanitiser gel, respecting social distancing, play an essential role in the protection of the most fragile, and generally stops spread of the virus
As a reminder, all establishments open to the public must offer sanitiser gel to customers and enforce the wearing of masks for both employees and customers.
The latest health bulletin from regional health agency ARS reports a very significant increase in positive cases of COVID-19 in St. Barths (169 new cases over the period July 19 to 25). Five clusters have also been identified, mainly in drinking establishments.
For this reason, the Préfet has decided that restaurants and drinking establishments in St. Barts will close at midnight.
In St. Martin the situation is stable (62 new cases over the period from July 19 to 25). However, the Louis-Constant Fleming Hospital which is operating at full stretch was treating 14 patients in the COVID unit as of July 29. One death was reported this week, the 39th since the beginning of the crisis. A family cluster has been identified, with five members of the same family being hospitalised.
The Préfet stressed the Louis-Constant Fleming Hospital is not able to cope with a wave of serious cases, without being able to evacuate patients to Guadeloupe or Martinique, the two territories that are already in a dire health crisis of their own. Over the last two weeks, four medical evacuations of COVID patients have been carried out to the University Hospital of Guadeloupe.
The Préfet urges all fragile people, or those with underlying conditions to think seriously about getting vaccinated and to get in touch with health professionals or the ARS, who will remove any doubts they might have about getting vaccinated.