The Impacts of COVID-19 on SETAR And Aruba
On March 13, 2020, the Government of Aruba announced the two first positive cases confirmed for COVID-19 on the island. With that, the Government of Aruba announced several measures to prevent the virus from spreading keeping in mind the capacity available at our Hospital and intensive care.
The Government of Aruba and the Public Health Department (DVG) have introduced an intense awareness campaign and daily sharing of information. This in order to create awareness of the importance of Social Distancing and hygiene.
The Government of Aruba also introduced a Curfew from 9.00 pm to 6.00 am, Shelter-in-Place from 6.00 am to 9.00 pm and a ban on gatherings of four people or more during the Shelter-in-Place. During the Curfew, you are only allowed to be on the road if you need to go to the pharmacy, hospital or work that falls under essential. During the Shelter-in-Place, you are not allowed to leave your home, if not for essential things only such as buying food, going to the pharmacy, going to work in an essential sector (with a skeleton crew) or to exercise.
Furthermore, all inbound flights have been stopped, including for residents of Aruba. Only outbound flights are permitted to pick up passengers to go back home.
These measures have been taken primarily to protect the health of our community and to prevent the further spread of the virus. From an economic, financial and social perspective, the measures have had a negative impact on the island. Tourism as our main pillar and source of income has been hit hard. Many small and medium businesses are struggling to keep afloat and keep their employees working.
We are now almost two months into this crisis. Over this time, we have had 101 positive cases. See chart below:
For 13 days, we remained at a 100 positive cases, without getting new cases. The 101 case was someone who was already in quarantine who recently developed symptoms. With this positive news, the Government of Aruba has announced that it will start adjusting the measures making them more flexible. The Curfew has been shortened to 10.00 pm ‘till 5.00 am. Shelter-in-Place remains from 5.00 am to 10.00 pm. A few more companies are now allowed to open keeping in mind Social Distancing and hygiene. The flexibilization of the measures will occur gradually in four phases of each two weeks. If no new cases are found within each 2-week period, we will move forward to the next phase until all the companies are open. As for the measures of Social Distancing and hygiene, the Public Health Department announced that these will remain in place for the rest of the year. As for the reopening of our borders, that remains to be seen depending on the developments in other countries.
SETAR’s role and contribution
The health of our employees and the Aruban community has been a high priority for SETAR as well as the continuity of our services. SETAR, as a vital company for the island, has to provide connection and service at all times.
SETAR has installed a Taskforce to assist the Director and Management with the latest developments of COVID-19 and the measures that should be taken keeping in mind Social Distancing and hygiene. As of March 16, 2020, SETAR has adopted a list of measures to minimize the risks of someone getting infected or infecting someone else.
We have taken the following measures with regards to our clients visiting one of our Teleshops:
- Limiting the amount of people at a time in our Teleshops;
- Increasing cleaning in all of our buildings, especially the public areas and our counters;
- Use of hand sanitizer when entering a Teleshop;
- Adhering to Social Distancing inside and outside of the Teleshop;
- Adjusted the opening hours of our Teleshops.
As for our employees, we have taken the following measures:
- Employees that fall into the risk group have been instructed to work from home;
- The amount of employees working at the office has been minimized;
- Employees are allowed to work from home if the job permits it and the Manager approves;
- Extra VPN’s have been made available for working from home.
- Visit or work at a client’s house or business continued maintaining Social Distancing and wearing personal protection equipment;
- Employees are encouraged to use platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom for internal and external meetings;
- The offices have been rearranged according to the distance of 1.5 meter between every employee;
- If an employee goes into quarantine, the area or department where he/she works will be sanitized as a preventive measure;
- Continuously share information and internal awareness campaigns for Hygiene and Social Distancing.
As mentioned above, SETAR is a vital company for the island. Our Technical Department has also been working pro-actively to maintain our network up to part and to minimize the amount of faults that can occur now that everyone is at home using the internet.
SETAR is part of the national crisis team and plays an important role during this crisis. SETAR has provided the crisis team with several telephone numbers to assist in numerous services, such as the Coronavirus hotline, Elderly line, FASE helpdesk, Click line, Social helpline and the DIMAS line for voluntary return of those with an illegal status on the island.
The Public Health Department (DVG) and the Government of Aruba in collaboration with our IT Department introduced a DVG Health Check App for the persons who are in quarantine. The use of this app is obligatory for all the persons in quarantine, with daily check-ins to verify location and identity as well the registration of daily symptoms. The information received is registered in a central database at DVG for the duration of 14 days of quarantine. The aim of the DVG Health Check App is to obtain a better overview of all the cases that are registered and to follow the development of each person in quarantine.
Communication is important in these times, which is why SETAR has given our Postpaid and Hybrid customers an extra 8GB LTE Data free each month. Our Prepaid customer receive double the data when buying a prepaid data bundle.
Furthermore, SETAR in an initiative to make the digital learning at home possible has donated 200 Mi-Fi with 100 GB each and 700 pre-paid cards at a total value of AWG 35.000 ($20.000) to students that do not have internet access at home. The 200 Mi-Fi and 700 pre-paid cards have been distributed to the local educational organizations. Each organization is in charge of allocating them to the students who need it most, with a focus on students who are in the exam class.
SETAR has also donated to our Food Bank, Red Cross and other organizations in order to help them facilitate those in need with food, beverages, basic and hygiene products, and clothes.
Last but not least, the employees of SETAR will be taking a pay cut from their salary. This in solidarity with those who have lost their jobs in the private sector.