Silveria Jacobs, prime minister of St. Maarten, minced no words earlier this month while delivering a message, pleading with the 41,000 people of St. Maarten to take social distancing seriously in the fight against Covid-19.
In a to-the-point Council of Ministers video address published April 1, she told residents to stock up on food and make the best of what they have.
"Stop moving. Simply stop moving," she said. "If you do not have the type of bread you like in your house, eat crackers, eat cereal, eat oats, sardines. If the people of St. Maarten do not adhere to the measures that the government of St. Maarten has in place for your own safety, then I have no other choice but to order a full lockdown."
A two-week stay-at-home order is currently in effect, although residents were permitted access to essential services for two days on April 16 and 17, including grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and gas stations and to hold funeral services with no more than 20 people in attendance.
Authorities also temporarily suspended the sale and purchase of alcohol.
Dutch St. Maarten shares a border with French St. Martin, but travel between the Dutch and French sides now is prohibited.
On French St. Martin, a lockdown "shelter at home" mandate is in effect until May 11 as well on France's other overseas territories in the Caribbean, including St. Barts, Guadeloupe and Martinique.