PM Silveria Jacobs.
PHILIPSBURG–Residents who require “urgently needed items” will be able to place an order to their neighborhood supermarket as of Tuesday and that order will be delivered to their residence with payment being made with as little contact as possible. The list of numbers, What’sApp numbers and email addresses where orders can be placed will be released by the Department of Communications (DCOMM) soon.
Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Silveria Jacobs made the announcement in a national address on Monday evening.
Following a video conference with supermarket and food suppliers on Monday, Jacobs said it was decided that all food suppliers will be allowed to do deliveries as of Tuesday, April 7, to clients, including smaller grocery stores, to French St. Martin and to make shipments to neighbouring islands. Deliveries will also be possible to individual clients, who will be able to place their orders for essential items by phone, What’sApp or email. Persons will only be able to place orders at the supermarkets closest to their place of residence and will only apply to urgently needed items.
Jacobs said this decision was taken given that many felt persons who were unable to do their grocery shopping prior to the shutdown might “resort to breaking the law.” She said also that supermarkets had indicated that they had many perishable items and delivering these would result in less wastage.
Jacobs said she would allow the deliveries once the stipulations and proper protocol are adhered to. The proper waiver documents would have to be submitted for workers who are needed for delivery services. Supermarkets and food suppliers are also to ensure that their delivery workers are healthy and have the necessary protective equipment.
All deliveries should be on a “no contact” basis, where delivered items should be taken to a door or entrance of a facility. Payment can be upfront or made with “as little contact as possible.”
Supermarket and small grocery stories, she noted, will facilitate the delivery system as per their capacity. Therefore, if a supermarket is able to do 20 or 30 deliveries per day, the customer will be notified what day and time they can expect their delivery.
All supermarkets will remain closed to the public during this time as only deliveries will be allowed. “You are not allowed to go to supermarket or grocery store,” Jacobs said.
Later this week, Jacobs said a decision will be made on allowing persons to move in their respective districts according to their last names and the public will be notified on whether or not this will be allowed. This decision has to be taken with the police department and stakeholders as the primary reason for the lockdown is to contain the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.
She urged consumers not to “clog up” the lines of supermarkets and grocery stores if they do not have an urgent need for food supplies and to leave ordering for those without basic needs in their homes. “This is not for luxury items, it is just for basic needs,” she noted, adding that suppliers have indicated that fresh supplies such as fresh fruits and vegetables had arrived in the country on Sunday and Monday, so the intention is to have these disseminated. She also urged persons with the delivery and other waivers to only use them for the purpose for which they were issued.
As it relates to vulnerable residents, government has begun the process of delivering to vulnerable residents who are on its list and who contacted Social Welfare and Social Services. Those negatively impacted by economic downfall caused as a result of the virus can let authorities know by filling in a form available via government’s official website.
In an unrelated matter, she said government’s isolation location is up and running. Persons in the facility are provided with three square meals per day. Jacobs thanked Finance Minister Ardwell Irion for the key role he is playing in this process. Collective Prevention Services (CPS) and American University of the Caribbean (AUC) School of Medicine students are ensuring that persons in the facility remain in proper isolation and will be provided with healthy food, good medical services as well as the necessary psychological support.