Tourist accommodations on the French side of the island must each sign a convention (see related story) taking responsibility for instructing US visitors on a “sanitary protocol” to start accepting them as guests again per December 1. Americans flying in at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) with a negative PCR test result of no more than five days prior to travel – as required for Dutch St. Maarten – but staying across the open border will need to take a second so-called rapid test within two days after arrival and follow up on the result. The article says the latter does not go for tests 72 hours or less before departure.
Now that entry policies of authorities in Philipsburg and Marigot have been better coordinated, the intention is to sign a mutual health protocol.
This COVID-19 crisis has once again shown how – although different countries – interwoven the two sides of the island are in every aspect of life. The opposition to border closures related to the pandemic culminating in a joint demonstration to end these was a crystal-clear reminder of that historic reality, for which comprehension and respect may be expected from both Paris and The Hague.
Ingredients are currently at least present to safely receive vacationers from the biggest market of what has always been considered one single destination. That will be helpful to the hard-hit local hospitality industry going into the traditional high season.
The more synchronised French- and Dutch-side rules are also for yachting and cruise tourism, the fewer obstacles efforts to revive the economy will encounter. The best approach is usually to keep things simple and straightforward.