photo: Food for the coming weeks

PHILIPSBURG – Supermarkets on Sint Maarten will be allowed to deliver groceries ‘in emergency case’ starting on Tuesday. This was announced by prime minister Silveria Jacobs on Monday evening. Individuals with financial problems can ask the government for help or food packages.

With the possibility of getting groceries delivered, the government wants to meet the demands of individuals who were not able to get groceries before the island went into total lockdown last Saturday. The government also wishes to fight food waste in this manner because otherwise the supermarkets would have to dispose of their perishable goods.

Pasta for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Sacha van der Wouden is one of the individuals on Sint Maarten who doesn’t have enough food to last her two weeks because she was surprised by the lockdown on Saturday. “That morning, when there hadn’t been an official announcement yet and I saw the long line at the supermarket, where people weren’t keeping proper distance, I thought: it’s better if I go on Monday.”

‘Don’t give me the food packages, but give it to someone who really needs it’

Sacha and her boyfriend can manage for exactly one week. “That would mean pasta for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not exactly fun, but we’ll survive.” Sacha doesn’t want a food package, she would like the supermarkets to open again. “Don’t give me the food packages, but give it to someone who really needs it. I can pay for my own groceries, but the stores have to be open.”

Stringent rules for home deliveries
Supermarkets received a list with the rules that have to be followed to make home delivery a possibility. They have to request an exemption for delivery personnel to hit the road for example. Additionally the delivery personnel have to be healthy and the groceries have to be left in front of the door.

If they only are able to complete a certain number of deliveries per day, supermarkets will have to inform their customers on which day and at what time they can deliver. The supermarket locations will remained closed for the public.

How to request help or a food package
Individuals who need governmental help, because they don’t have money to do groceries, can report this to the government by using this form or this form. Even though residents without a residency permit are questioning whether there will be consequences for them, the help is intended for everyone regardless of their residency status.

How quickly an individual will receive a food package after the form has been filled in remains unknown. The prime minister states however that the distribution of the first food packages has already started.