Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Aruba maintains shelter-in-place order and 2200-0500 curfew, and eases restrictions on nonessential businesses, as of May 5.

This alert affects Aruba

This alert began 05 May 2020 09:22 GMT and is scheduled to expire 18 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Islandwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Severe international and internal transport disruptions, commercial disruptions, increased security

As of May 5, authorities in Aruba are maintaining the existing shelter-in-place order and 2200-0500 curfew until further notice and beginning to relax some nonessential business restrictions. The measures are to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Under the daytime shelter-in-place order, residents will only be allowed to leave their homes to make purchases from authorized businesses and establishments or to obtain medical services. Residents will not be allowed to leave their homes during curfew hours. Essential services will operate at 25 percent capacity through May 17. Persons providing essential services will be required to present the relevant documentation allowing movement during curfew hours. Pharmacies are exempt from the measure.

While most restrictions remain the same, officials will relax measures on some nonessential businesses through May 17. Retail stores, such as clothes, jewelry, book and pet stores, as well as food trucks, museums, art centers, and authorized construction firms, will be permitted to operate under additional protocols. Establishments may have no more than 15 people inside, including staff. All businesses and establishments must ensure that employees and customers maintain at least 1.5 meters (5 feet) between each other, that sick workers stay home, and that enhanced sanitation and hygiene protocols are enforced. All establishments are to close by 2100. Nonessential businesses and activities that will remain closed through at least May 17 include all educational facilities, shopping malls and markets, bars, restaurants, personal services such as beauty salons and barbers, and recreational and entertainment establishments except museums and art centers.

Other current restrictive measures include a temporary entry ban for all nonresident foreigners, as well as returning citizens and legal residents, until further notice. All incoming passenger flights have been suspended until at least May 31. Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA) remains operational for cargo, emergency, and limited repatriation flights only.

The measures in place will significantly impact business and transport throughout the territory. A larger than usual police presence is likely to enforce the measures. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by authorities in Aruba are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19, a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic March 11. Aruba's decision to ease restrictions takes place within the framework of a flexible four-level system geared at gradually reopening the economy through June. The territory is currently on Level 1, the highest in terms of the degree of the restrictions. Should the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increase, the relaxed restrictions may be reapplied. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in further relaxation of restrictions.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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