Reopening to US pushed back another two weeks

    Reopening to US pushed  back another two weeks

PHILIPSBURG--The country’s reopening to the United States (US) has been pushed back another two weeks and is tentatively scheduled for August 1, said Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Ludmila de Weever during the live virtual Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday morning.

  The reopening was initially scheduled for July 1, but was postponed for two weeks on June 30 due to the surging number of coronavirus cases in the US.

  Government’s Facebook page and the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau (STB) website announced on Tuesday that the US reopening would be on July 15. This was pushed back to August 1 on Wednesday.

  However, government has warned that the scheduled dates are subject to change and are based on recommendations by the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA. De Weever said the VSA ministry is using a “measuring scale” to determine low-, medium- and high-risk countries.

  “This is an ever-changing situation regarding dates, which is why we are trying to minimise the amount of postponements we would have. But seeing the ongoing developments in the US we have decided that August 1 is an appropriate date,” said De Weever.

  She also said a negative coronavirus polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result is still a requirement to enter the country.

  However, residents may be exempted from this requirement, according to De Weever. “I have been in discussion with the Ministry of VSA via CPS [Collective Prevention Services – Ed.] to allow our residents and students to come home, but they will have to go into a 14-day quarantine ... In that way it takes away the pressure ... from the PCR testing,” she said.