Let them eat crackers.
Sint Maarten’s prime minister has gone viral after a blunt social distancing PSA, telling her constituents to “Simply. Stop. Moving.”
And if they run out of their favorite foods at home, they should stay in place and eat whatever is on hand — like sardines or crackers.
As of April 8, the Dutch constituent country, which shares its Caribbean island with the French overseas collectivity of Saint-Martin, had 40 recorded cases of COVID-19, and eight deaths.
That’s a fraction of the 1.61 million cases and almost 100,000 deaths and counting worldwide, of course, but Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs clearly doesn’t want to see those numbers climb.
So she admonished anyone not following social-distancing guidances in an April 1 press briefing posted to YouTube GOOG, +0.09% that has spread around Twitter TWTR, -0.32% and Facebook FB, +0.52% over the past week.
“ ‘If you do not have the type of bread you like in your house? Eat crackers. Eat cereal. Eat Oats. Sardines.’ ”
Jacobs likened the pandemic to a natural disaster, such as when Hurricane Irma devastated the island in 2017.
“You’re supposed to have a two-week supply for hurricanes, and at the beginning of this I said, ‘Prepare your disaster kit as if you were for a hurricane,’ ” she said.
But instead of stocking up on food, her constituents panic-bought toilet paper and water — which, to be fair, is what many Americans did, too.
“The water’s not going to stop. The toilet paper’s still in the stores,” she said. “What you need is food!”
Indeed, if she enforces a total lockdown, as she says some folks are demanding, then people will still need a two-week supply of food. “But do not run to the supermarket today to buy for a month!” she added. “As I said, buy for one to two weeks.”
Many on social media are praising Jacobs for not pulling any punches in her public address. “I feel like all leaders should be talking to their citizens like this,” wrote one Twitter user.
“You are not stuck at home — you are safe at home,” Jacobs added.
Watch her here: