11 PM Business closure to be extended
The Ministerial Regulation to scale back the hours of nightlife, which was signed by the Ministries of TEATT and VSA, will be extended. Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, Mr. Omar Ottley stated that the announcement of an October 1st reopening was an optimistic one, as he hoped that St. Maarten would have been able to contain the deadly COVID-19 Delta variant. To date we are still over 100 cases and sadly we have lost 6 persons within the last week due to COVID – 19.
The Minister went on to state that he has been in contact with representatives of the nightlife industry and they are working diligently to have their screening process implemented. The Minister made reference to the Memorandum of Intent he signed with the night life establishments, in which they indicated that they will soon be able to verify a persons’ vaccination status via QR Code (Digital COVID Certificate) or a 48 hour negative COVID – 19 test. In this regard, the Minister held meetings with the laboratories on the Dutch side of the island, which agreed to offer more affordable prices for testing of party goers that display their QR APP upon arrival (DCC or Kband).
The Minister’s objective is to open back up night life in a safe and sound manner to protect the people of this country, but now is not the appropriate time. “The main goal is to avoid another business hour scale back especially leading into the highly anticipated busy season 2021 – 2022.” The Minister hopes that the screening process can be in place as soon as possible so that the 11pm business closure Ministerial Regulation can be reversed.