Travel advisories for Bonaire are updated by Lt. Governor Rijna.
Friday afternoon, Bonaire’s Lt. Governor Edison Rijna provided an update on the travel advisories for Bonaire, as well as on the COVID-19 situation.
Here is a transcript of his speech:
Now that the number of people infected with the virus remains low, we may continue to ease the rules as stated in the current emergency ordinance. We can go from level three; Threat, to level two; Concern. Some changes have already been introduced, for example that establishments in the hospitality sector and casinos may close later. Another change is that our designation code has changed from orange to yellow.
Before I start listing the other changes, I would like to say the following. This week another case of coronavirus infection was detected. It is good to take into consideration that now that more people can to travel to Bonaire, we may also see more cases of infection. We should not think or hope that we can remain infection free. This is not realistic.
We will have to get used to the fact that it continues to be important to keep the virus under control. We must not forget that we are well prepared. We have already proven that we can do it. We will experience times on Bonaire with a few and with many COVID-19 cases, and also times with zero cases of infection.
As a society we will have to get used to adapting to different situations at different times; sometimes with strict rules and sometimes with milder rules. For our part, we will ensure that the changes are not too drastic or extreme. For your part, I am counting on cooperation and adherence to the rules.
Now, I would like to talk to you about the coming changes. These changes are regulated by the new emergency ordinance, which will come into effect on 16 November of this year and will expire on 1 December of this year.
At a private event such as at home, in a public space or on the beach a maximum of 25 people may be present. It is possible to organize events again, but provided that a maximum of 50% of the location is used and that no more than 50 people are present. Registration is mandatory for every attendee. During an event it is not allowed to sing or dance.
In places such as casinos, saunas and in the hospitality sector all visitors must register at arrival and answer several questions about their health. In the hospitality sector all guests must sit in fixed seating. The establishments may remain open until midnight. Casinos are allowed to open at 6 p.m. and must close at 2 a.m. From midnight on casinos are not allowed to serve alcoholic beverages.
Church services and masses may be held again as long as sufficient distance is kept. Singing is allowed. On arrival churchgoers must meet the same registration and health-check requirements as guests in the hospitality establishments.
It is possible to organize sports events again, but without spectators. In case of indoor sports, all those present must be registered and must answer a few questions about their health before the event starts. This is not mandatory in case of outdoor sports. We are still talking to the sports organizations to see whether we can find a responsible way to make it possible for spectators to be present in the near future.
While we advised everyone to preferably work from home, it is now possible to work from the office again. Employers must, however, ensure that they adhere to the Public Health Department’s rules and measures. One of these rules is that the workplace must be aired twice a day.
There will be a maximum of seven KLM flights and four TUI flights from the Netherlands every week. There will be six flights a day from Curacao to Bonaire throughout the week. All passengers who travel to Bonaire on a normal flight, on a private airplane or who come by boat must undergo a PCR test no earlier than 72 hours before departure. The result of this test must be negative. All passengers must also complete a health declaration form. This form may be filled in on the website: www.bonairepublichealth.org.
Passengers from Saba and Sint Eustatius do not have to undergo a PCR test, but they do have to complete the Public Health Department’s health declaration before their departure. Direct flights from the United States are not permitted until 1 December. We hope to restart direct flights from the United States from 1 December onwards.
Finally, I would like to ask you something. We are all planning and preparing to celebrate the holidays with our family and friends. Let us all consider how to do that while respecting the rules. Let’s not forget nor ignore the basic rules during the holidays. We would not want to have an outbreak at the beginning of a new year. I hope we will all be able to start the New Year in good health.
Dr. Marian Luinstra-Passchier, Department of Public Health, also addressed the people of Bonaire.
Here is a transcript of her speech:
In recent weeks we have had almost no infections. Now that the measures are being eased it is a good moment to look back on COVID infections on Bonaire from the beginning of the pandemic, so that we may be able to learn from our own experience.
The graph shows that for a long time Bonaire has almost been COVID-free. There were a few infections in April and in July. But at that time they did not lead to other infections.
At the end of August the number of infections started to increase. We are not sure where they originated, but it is clear that COVID-19 was introduced to Bonaire via another country or island. The number of infections rapidly increased in a short time. Our source tracing showed that not everyone was adhering to all of the basic rules, such as keeping 1.5 meters distance from each other. As the number of infections increased, stricter measures were introduced. Fortunately, everyone adhered to these measures as much as possible and so we managed to quickly control the outbreak with joint efforts. We hope that we will be able to jointly control the virus in the same quick way should subsequent infections occur.
We have decided to reduce the quarantine period from 14 days to 10 days, just like Aruba and the Netherlands. This will come into effect on 16 November. We are shortening the quarantine period because it is very rare for someone to be discovered to be infected in the last four days.
Aruba has completed a trial with this shortened quarantine and did not experience any problems. In the Netherlands the shorter quarantine period was introduced some time ago. A shorter period will make it a little easier for people to comply with quarantine without too much risk.