As Sint Maarten transitions to endemic SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) transmission, a number of public health changes are underway.
1) As of 15th March 2022, Minister VSA relaxed the mask mandate – this means that masks are not legally required in any situation on Sint Maarten, however business owners can choose to implement their own mask policy.
2) After 25th March 2022:
a. CPS will no longer be managing individual cases of SARS-CoV-2 and will not be conducting source and contact tracing.
b. CPS will no longer issue quarantine or isolation letters.
c. SARS-CoV-2 positive individuals will not need to isolate but may be advised to stay at home by their general practitioner (house doctor).
d. Any individual who tests positive for SARS-CoV-2 will need to follow the advice of their general practitioner (house doctor). The house doctor will advise on how many sick days are required. For extended sick leave, contact your insurance as you would for any other illness.
3) Screening of individuals, particularly employees, will be up to the discretion of the employer, but this must be reasonable and should not infringe the rights of employees. CPS only recommends SARS-CoV-2 screening in closed, high-risk settings e.g. hospitals, elderly care homes, prisons.
4) After April 29th 2022, CPS will no longer conduct community testing. Individuals will not be able to access free testing at the Community Help Desk in Hope Estate. Any individual who would like a SARS-CoV-2 test will need to visit their house doctor and/or a laboratory, as they would for any other illness.
5) If persons have general questions about COVID-19, call 914.
The transition to accepting the presence of SARS-CoV-2 may be socially difficult, but Ministry VSA deems the relative risk to the population to be significantly lower than when SARS-CoV-2 first emerged. Vaccination is effective and widely available, and the most recent variant (Omicron) is significantly less likely to cause hospitalization and death, particularly for the vaccinated.
CPS and the Ministry VSA will continue to monitor SARS-CoV-2 transmission and will inform the community of any updates.