Lt. Governor Rijna provides a COVID-19 update from Bonaire.
In a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Lt. Governor Edison Rijna provided a COVID-19 update from Bonaire, including current cases, getting to Bonaire, and the newest regulations. Here is a copy of his speech:
Today I would like to talk to you about:
- The COVID-19 numbers on our island
- The COVID-19 Temporary Measures Act
- The flight ban for the US
- The vaccine against COVID-19
- The situation on Curacao
- Celebrating the holidaysThe COVID-19 numbers on our island
The COVID-19 numbers on our island
The COVID-19 numbers have remained stable on our island. Active cases vary between zero and five. So here on Bonaire, we are still at level 2 and the measures of this level remain applicable. These measures may be eased or we may introduce stricter measures should the situation concerning COVID-19 on Bonaire require us to do so.
The COVID-19 Temporary Measures Act
As of yesterday, the COVID-19 Temporary Measures Act entered into force. Not much will change for you as citizens. What has changed, however, is that in the future the rules and requirements for traveling to Bonaire will be regulated by an emergency ordinance. All measures pertaining to the various risk levels of COVID-19 will be regulated by what has been termed a Governor’s Resolution. This Governor’s Resolution finds its basis in the Ministerial Regulation of the COVID-19 Temporary Measures Act.
The flight ban for the US
Until 15 December 2020, no direct flights from the United States will be allowed on Bonaire. We had hoped that there would again be flights from the United States sooner, and we are talking to the Netherlands to establish whether US flights will be feasible starting 16 December. However, this remains a decision that the Netherlands must make.
The vaccine against COVID-19
We are pleased that Minister De Jonge of the Ministry of Public Health announced yesterday that the Netherlands will soon have a COVID-19 vaccine and that it will also be available to us. Our Public Health Department is regularly consulting with the Netherlands to ensure we will be well prepared for when we can commence vaccinations. The substance of the consultations, among other things, in which groups on Bonaire will be the first to qualify for this vaccine.
The situation on Curacao
There are also other issues we worry about. On our sister island Curacao, the number of COVID-19 cases has gone up at an alarming rate. I want to appeal to everyone here on Bonaire to continue to adhere to the basic rules, so that we do not have to experience the same difficult times as Curacao, which was forced to introduce much stricter rules, such as a curfew and prohibition. Because of this situation, I advise everyone not to travel to Curacao at the moment. If it is imperative that you must travel, keep 1.5 meters distance from others when you are there and adhere to the local rules. There are people on Bonaire who are concerned that due to the situation in Curacao they might not be able to spend the holidays with their families there. We must take this possibility into account. Just as we have to take into account that if we get multiple cases of COVID-19 on Bonaire, stricter rules will be applied. Should this occur, I will inform you about it immediately.
Celebrating the holidays
This is the month that we decorate our homes and prepare to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. This year our Christmas celebrations will be different. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no social distancing at Christmas mass or services, and we did not have to keep a distance from others when we celebrated Christmas at home with our family and friends. Unfortunately, COVID-19 changed all that.
We must be prepared for the possibility that our situation may change overnight. This is not something we want to happen, but it can.
From the way things look right now, it will be allowed to set off fireworks in a private setting only. But please keep in mind that that may also change, so stick to the rules that will be applicable at that time.
Let us continue to take good care of ourselves and others. Eat healthily and get plenty of exercise and sleep. Let us make sure that we get through the holidays in a calm and responsible manner so that we all can start the New Year safe and sound on our dushi Bonaire.