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St. Maarten is the Dutch half of an island in the northeast Caribbean. The other half of the island is St. Martin. St. Maarten is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
It is a lush, beautiful gem in the Caribbean, featuring crystal clear lagoons and white sand beaches. The cobblestone streets and colorful buildings of its capital, Philipsburg, enchant visitors with their vintage charm.
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, tourism to the island had been halted. That has recently changed.
During the onset of Covid-19 on the island, there were fears that this pandemic would be even worse in terms of both lives lost and economic damage than any hurricane.
The timing of the virus could not have been any worse, as it arrived at the start of the tourist season. The Prime Minister, Silveria Jacobs, called for citizens and legal residents to return no later than March 22nd, in an effort to contain the problem.
Yet the cases of coronavirus rose and Ms. Jacobs had to issue a mandatory lockdown on the country on May 10th.
As the graph of cases shows, the lockdown was remarkably efficient at slowing the onset of new cased.
In a population of about 40,000 people, there has only been 150 cases total of Covid-19. Of those who have been struck by the disease, only 16 have died and, so far, 64 have recovered.
St. Maarten officially opened for tourists as of July 1
St. Maarten opened up to North American and European tourists again at the beginning of last month. St. Maarten Tourism Minister Ludmila de Weever explained that while the island wanted to reopen for the economic welfare of its people, it needed to do so in a responsible manner.
The goal must be to ensure the safety of both citizens and tourists. For these reasons, numerous precautions have been put into place by the government.
Face masks will be required at the airport and mandatory temperature checks will be given for those entering the country.
For those who exhibit symptoms, an additional Covid-19 test will be given. Visitors are asked to follow the safety precautions recommended by reputable organization such as the CDC and WHO. They should maintain social distance and wear their masks in all public places, such as the airport. They should wash their hands often and use hand sanitizer when they cannot. They should not touch their eyes, nose or mouth.
While on the island, the government recommends that travelers acquaint themselves with the safety protocols at their hotel and of their activity providers. Also, it’s advised that tourists get travel insurance so that, if the worst-case scenario unfolds, they will have peace of mind.
Countries whose Citizens are Allowed to Travel to St. Maarten
As of June 22nd, those from Saba, St. Eustatius, Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba, Anguilla, St. Barths, Martinique, Guadelupe, St. Lucia, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Dominica and the British Virgin Islands were allowed to enter the country.
As of July 1st, Canadian citizens and Europeans were also allowed.
On August 1st, those from the United States were able to gain entry.
Stringent Safety Regulations Help Keep Residents Healthy
All public venues, such as hotels and restaurants, will be expected to adhere to rigorous new standards. This includes all tourist sites. Visitors to this beautiful island can be assured that its residents take safety seriously.
Top Reasons to Visit St. Maarten
Many consider St. Maarten to be their favorite Caribbean destination. The reasons for this are numerous.
They include world-class diving. The reef systems are healthy and filled with a magnificent diversity of marine life and there are also a variety of underwater wrecks to explore.
The shopping is also world-class. Since everything is duty-free, you can find some real bargains whether you are looking for designer handbags or cutting-edge electronics.
Then there are the people. They are known for their friendliness. You’ll be welcomed with warm smiles wherever you go, whether you are enjoying the beautiful natural landscape or the vibrant nightlife. If you’re a night owl, you’ll find plenty to do at the casinos, nightclubs and live music venues.
You’ll also enjoy delicious food, as St. Maarten melds its Dutch heritage with its neighbor’s French influence and the local Caribbean flavors to create world-class cuisine.
Finally, if your idea of a dream vacation is simply to relax on the beach, St. Maarten has 37 different ones you can try.
Now that St. Maarten is once again open to Americans, it’s a great time to plan your vacation here. If you are concerned for your safety, be assured that the government is taking every precaution to keep both residents and visitors safe.
If you have any questions, call and talk to the management at your hotel before you book, and assure yourself of the stringency of their procedures. Then go ahead and book your vacation. After you visit this small Caribbean country you will understand why so many people go back every year to enjoy its delights.