PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The Government of Sint Maarten hereby cautions the general public to remain safe amidst the holiday festivities. It is important that the health protocols are followed when out in public areas and at home, that fireworks are used in a safe manner, and that persons making use of the public roads do so safely while looking out for others.
Ensure to move smart when out in public by avoiding large crowds, wearing your mask, washing your hands, and maintaining a social distance of two meters from others. Exercise similar caution at home, especially when entertaining and allowing visitors in your home.
This responsible behavior will allow us to continue diminishing our COVID-19 active cases on the island. In doing so, we can all contribute to ensuring that Sint Maarten’s medical capacity is not threatened, and our economy can continue to make a much-needed come-back. A lack of adherence to the health protocols could lead to fines and even closure of businesses, and possibly more restrictions in movement for our residents and visitors alike. These types of restrictions are what the government and each citizen are striving to avoid. Government hereby encourages all to adhere to the protocols thereby contributing to the overall wellbeing of our beloved island nation.
After much deliberation, the sale of fireworks was approved by the Council of Ministers to allow a semblance of normalcy within our society. As such, the general public is hereby requested to maintain caution when lighting fireworks and partaking in such activities. Protect yourself, your children, and those around you by ensuring that this is done at a safe distance from flammable material and spectators. The Fire Department, Police Force, Coast Guard, and Customs will closely be observing to ensure all firework displays are in accordance with the permits granted and that they are used in a safe and proper manner. As the country is experiencing gusty winds which can have a negative impact, safety in handling of fireworks is also encouraged to avoid unnecessary medical intervention which may overburden the health care system that is already under stress due to the COVID-19 response.
The Government has taken note of increased road incidents which may be attributed to drinking and driving, reckless driving as well as wet road surfaces due to the weather conditions. Road users are hereby cautioned to exercise safety while using public roads. Be mindful and considerate of fellow road users by not drinking and driving. Always designate a non-drinker as the driver for your safety and that of others. Motorcyclists and scooter riders are also admonished to ride safely and not take unnecessary risks that endanger your life and that of others. As there is an expectation of high winds and rain over the holidays, roads may be wet and therefore extra caution is expected by all road users. The general public is asked to pay keen attention to weather updates issued by our local Meteorological Department of St. Maarten Facebook page or via www.meteosxm.com and plan movements accordingly.
“Government’s major priority remains the safety of our people, especially our most vulnerable. By keeping safe and maintaining high levels of hygiene at home and when out and about, driving safely and using fireworks in a responsible manner during the holidays taking into consideration the high winds, we will ensure that our economy begins to stabilize and regain pre-pandemic levels,” stated Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs. She further emphasized the need for us to be safe, spend quality time with family and loved ones, focus on priorities of life in order to see another day.
“The general public is wished a very safe and blessed transition from the old year into the new. May the New Year 2021 be a year of progress and growth, one filled with blessings for us all individually as well as collectively as a nation. May God continue to bless and protect St. Martin and her people,” concluded Prime Minister Jacobs.