The announcement finally came Saturday when it was declared by the Prime Minister that the decision was made to shut down all business for two weeks forcing everyone to stay indoors as of Sunday April 5th. The National Decree prepared by the government and signed off by the Governor place the entire territory of Country St. Maarten in a state of Emergency.
A short list of exemptions were given of personnel and businesses allowed to operate for emergency purposes only. The list was limited to the Governor, Government officials, Medical personnel, Media Outlets, Garbage services, Shipping and freight services and Pharmacies. Further information will be given on Sunday in a scheduled joint press conference between French and Dutch authorities on persons needing special arrangements and how this will be handled.
The prime Minister also mentioned in her statement to the Nation that the Royal Dutch Marines station on St. Maarten will give assistance to the Police in enforcing the shutdown. Police Chief Carl John added that the Marines have been given full powers to execute arrests. He pleaded with residents to stay off the streets and to remain in their homes during the shutdown. Failure to adhere to these orders will be dealt with accordingly.