SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – About 30 representatives of the bar, restaurant, casino, and night life industry met on Monday to discuss implementing stricter COVID-19 measures and formalizing an association for legally established industry members.
The bar, nightlife, restaurant, and casino industry had come under scrutiny after an unsubstantiated recent viral message claimed that a cluster of COVID-19 infected persons was identified at a local club.
Images of filled-to-capacity entertainment venues also surfaced online resulting in increased public scrutiny.
While acknowledging that some in their industry can and should do better, the business owners stressed that most establishments have COVID-19 measures in place and is willing to do more to protect their patrons and the general public.
In that context, the business owners agreed to develop a new protocol and implement additional measures which they will also present officially to Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and Minister of Health Richard Panneflek and hope to secure their support on such.
These measures include, but are not limited to:
– Reduced capacity figures. Each business will measure the size of their respective business. This will be divided by two, lowering the number of persons allowed to enter.
– Implement mandatory mask and face protection.
– Cease the use of glass ware.
– Regular fogging and sanitization of the premises.
These are in addition to measures already in place such as the availability of multiple hand sanitizing stations, increased spacing where possible and staff that are fully masked.
“We acknowledge that everyone, including bars, nightlife and restaurant venues, must implement and adhere to COVID-19 measures. Many of us already do so in a responsible manner and many of us stand ready to assist government. We are open to further dialogue with the Prime Minister and relevant authorities,” the business owners said.
As for the association, the group will move to formalize this within short. “Our industry is vital to the economy of St. Maarten, in particular when the country suffers external shocks that hits our tourism industry hard. The new association will give us a legal entity and activity body with which government and others can dialogue, create public awareness etc.”