St. Maarten first needs to establish the necessary indicators before it can determine when it can reopen to certain countries, Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Secretary-General Miguel de Weever said during an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) press conference on Saturday.
He was responding at the time to a question from a media operative as to whether the country plans on reopening Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) in June/July and what were the expected arrival protocols.
De Weever said an approach had been identified during a discussion amongst Emergency Support Functions 5, 6, 7 and 10. “There we outlined, for example, the approach that we wanted to take, the pre-conditions that we want to have in place because, for example, we need to be able to monitor and establish what are the indicators that we will allow for certain countries before we decide on which countries we will reopen to.”
He said the intention is to initially reopen to COVID-19-free areas such as the neighbouring islands Saba, St. Eustatius, and possibly St. Barths, Anguilla, Curaçao, Bonaire and eventually Aruba. He said these areas and several other islands in the region will come into consideration first.
However, he cautioned that authorities will have to also monitor what the current situation is in these countries and whether they have allowed persons to enter their destinations from other countries to which St. Maarten is not yet open.
“And once we have established those criteria, then we will be able to do regular monitoring as we move forward in determining what countries in specifically in Europe, the US and Canada [we will open to – Ed.]. That will be the phased approach. We need to establish the indicators and the things we have to do first before we can know when we can open to those countries,” De Weever said.
The Daily Herald.