The Daily Herald – Essential services can reopen at 2pm

~The airport and other businesses remain closed until tomorrow~

PHILIPSBURG – Premier of St. Maarten Silveria Jacobs, in her national address at noon (12:00 p.m.), announced that all people, except emergency services, were asked to stay off the streets because the country remains under tropical storm warning.

The airport will remain closed today due to continued strong gusts of wind from Fiona, as will the port due to rough seas.

Allowed to reopen at their discretion from 2:00 p.m. this afternoon are supermarkets and grocery stores, hardware stores, gas stations, restaurants and pharmacies. Normal business hours will resume tomorrow morning.

A gradual strengthening of this storm is expected to take place as the storm continues to move away from the area. Tropical storm conditions are still present and as a result the country remains under a tropical storm warning. The government of Sint Maarten calls on the population to remain vigilant.

It has been decided that essential businesses will be allowed to open at their own discretion from 2 p.m. Essential services as mentioned in the September 16 Ministerial Business Closure Regulations are supermarkets, grocery stores and bakeries, hardware stores, restaurants, pharmacies, funeral homes and gas stations. This is of course not mandatory; businesses can also choose to remain closed. As such, the population is asked to stay at home, unless absolutely necessary, as long as the flood advisory remains in effect.

Public transport and car rental are also allowed to operate.

Normal business hours may begin Sunday, September 18 at 6:00 a.m.

In other updates, the Prime Minister reported the following:

Airport

Sint Maarten Princess Juliana International Airport will remain closed today Saturday and will reopen Sunday, September 18 at 7:00 a.m.

Heavy gusts of 47 miles per hour were reported at the airport. The measure taken is a safety measure to allow the winds to calm down in the next 24 hours.

Port

Marine operations in Port St. Maarten remain closed today due to sea conditions, very rough seas and heavy swells. Once these are gone, an assessment will be made by the Port later this afternoon and updates will be provided by the Port.

Hurricane Shelter

Three people used the John Larmonie Center which was opened on Friday afternoon. The shelter will close later today. The shelter will close at 5 p.m.

HIS GEBE

No power outages were reported, only an isolated occurrence at Pelican last night which has been restored.

All other Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) reported no incidents.

During the morning hours, the Ministry of VROMI carried out assessments and cleaning of the road network if necessary in certain areas and this is continuing. Those who must use the road network should exercise caution and avoid speeding on wet roads.

Flash floods can still occur throughout the day. Stay home and continue to protect your loved ones. The measures aim to protect the safety and security of the inhabitants of Sint Maarten.

The Prime Minister wishes to thank all ESF Coordinators, Back Office, Police, Fire and Ambulance Services, Sint Maarten Voluntary Corps, Dutch Marines, Shelter Workers, VROMI Ministry, DCOMM for their collaboration during the passage of tropical storm Fiona.

This is the Prime Minister’s last Facebook live on Tropical Storm Fiona. Continue to monitor government news and information media for any additional information.

Michelle J. Kelley