One of the last remaining Caribbean islands with COVID-19 restrictions is lifting some of its requirements. St. Maarten will no longer require visitors to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result to enter the country, starting November 1.
“St. Maarten has done exceptionally well in its fight against… COVID-19,” tourism minister Omar Ottley said announcing the change, according to the Caribbean Journal. “The country is now fully engaged in restoring economic activity, and one key aspect of economic revitalization is the return of visitors in large numbers.”
This news will not only benefit the Dutch side of the island, but the French side of St. Martin since the majority of visitors arrive via Princess Juliana Airport on the Dutch side where the requirement was still in place.
The St. Maarten Hotel and Tourism Association had been urging the action be taken to help the travel industry recover.
Ottley acknowledged as much during his announcement but also cautioned the nation to remain vigilant in the fight against the pandemic.
“At the same time, while we concentrate on rebuilding our tourism destination, our work will continue to protect the population, including our visitors,” he said.
The action comes about a month after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved the island nation to its moderate risk category, or level 2, for COVID-19.
Previously, St. Maarten had been listed as “unknown” by the CDC due to insufficient data.
According to the Caribbean Journal, St. Maarten is the last of the Dutch islands in the Caribbean to remove the requirements for entry. Bonaire, Aruba, Curacao, Statia, and Saba had all previously dropped vaccination status or negative tests as entry requirements.
Ottley delivered a warning, however.
“St. Maarten must remain vigilant and be mindful that before COVID-19, hotels and the island dealt with other transmittable diseases that were harmful to the economy and the people,” he said.
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