A student prepares to board a bus with his mask on.
PHILIPSBURG--The COVID-19 Prevention and Safety Plans for the public transportation sector have been lifted by ministerial regulation, Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Roger Lawrence announced on Thursday.
Although lifted, it is at the discretion of all taxi and bus permit holders to decide whether they will still implement precautionary measures in their respective vehicles.
Lawrence said in a press statement that the lifting of the safety plans is due to the country’s near 90 per cent decrease in COVID-19 numbers in the last six weeks.
In May 2020, to resume operations at that time all taxis and bus permit holders had to adhere to the guidelines outlined in addendum B, entitled ‘COVID-19 Prevention and Safety Plan for the Business Community of St. Maarten,’ and had to have their operational plans in place prior to resuming services to the public.
St. Maarten has now transitioned back to normalcy after two years of restrictions, said Lawrence. “We have to learn to live with the virus while continuing to protect ourselves. I would like to remind all members of the community to remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from infectious diseases such as COVID-19,” he said.
TEATT Inspection Department Head Lucien Wilson advised all bus and taxi operators to ensure that they carry a valid permit, proof of insurance and valid motor vehicle inspection in their vehicles at all times. Additionally, they are strongly encouraged to ensure that they have paid their 2022 motor vehicle tax (road tax) and collected their 2022 licence plates if they have not already done so, to avoid the inconvenience of being stopped and possibly fined.