PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Despite the several guidelines and protocols put in place to maintain the number of cases at a low rate and conducting economic controls in businesses and buses, the current rate of COVID-19 infections has spiraled and the current rise in the number of hospitalization has spiked throughout the community, mainly due to none compliance or a blatant disregard to the protocols by businesses and citizens alike, that is very worrisome and has reached a level of concern.
As a consequence, thereof, I have sought clarity on some areas of concern, in specific regarding visitors to our island – by way of air and sea – from the Ministers of VSA and TEATT.
One of my interest of concern and that of the public are, as to whether or not vaccinated visitors arriving by air to our island are still allowed to enter without proof of testing negative for COVID-19, and if not the type of test that is required for fully vaccinated travelers, also taking returning local residents into consideration. I also brought forward the Travel Insurance Policy and its effectiveness.
Where the arriving cruise passengers are concerned, the question was to whether or not all cruise passengers and crew are fully vaccinated or are ships cruising with passengers and crew that are not vaccinated.
Weighing the visitors arriving on our shores via cruise vessel calls and those visitors arriving by air at PJIAE, my curiosity was aroused as to whether there is a difference in rules for both genres of travelers and if there are different requirements for Home Porting Ships vs ships calling to Port for the day.
In view of the fact that some visitors can arrive by air or sea port without having the valid required documents, such as a negative test or have not submitted the necessary information on the EHAS, although much propaganda has been published worldwide by the government, many are asking the question, especially on social media, as to what happens when such a visitor arrives on the island.
Are these folks returned to their country where their flight originated, or is there a fine system in place for on the spot payment and testing?
There is also much talk about the manner in which positive tested visitors are quarantined in hotels. In such peculiar situations whereby visitors who test positive while on island and unable to return home, are there dedicated quarantine facilities for these persons and if not, if plans are in place to arrange such a facility at our ports of entry for immediate quarantine. As you can see, there are many questions at hand requesting clarity by the general public at large.