Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, Omar Ottley announced that Sint Maarten will begin transitioning into the endemic phase of COVID-19. The Minister stated that recently the word ‘endemic’ is being used as a term to reference exiting the pandemic. Minister Ottley stated that misconceptions about the word endemic may encourage a misplaced complacency. He further stated that entering into the endemic phase of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus, doesn’t mean that COVID-19 will come to a natural end.
It just means that COVID -19 will now be considered an endemic infection, one in which overall rates are static — not rising, not falling. Which is why we have been working on policies to shape the years to come. These policies, continued health hygiene measures and individual behavior will determine what form the endemic COVID-19 takes.
With that being said, the Minister elaborated on the first transitional steps to be taken in his back to normalcy strategy; as of Friday February 25th the night life business hours will be extended to 3am.
The Minister also wants to notify the local population and the rest of the world that as of March 1st 2022, we will revert back to allowing persons who received their booster shot or two(2) doses of an approved vaccine, two(2)weeks or more prior to traveling, may enter the Country without requiring a test. Persons who have recovered from COVID-19 up to 9 months post infection, will also be allowed entry to the country without requiring a test.
“These first steps are a phased approach towards the normalcy strategy.” Said Minister Ottley. In the next phase other mandates and restrictions will be lifted in a careful and safe manner to ensure a safe and effective transition into normalcy.