SCDF thankful Carnival 2022 didn’t result in increased COVID infections | SOUALIGA NEWSDAY

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - It is almost a month after the closing of Carnival 2022 and the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) is happy to note that Carnival did not turn out to be a “super-spreader” event that many nay-sayers had predicted it would be. “In fact, there are fewer cases now than there were during and at the end of Carnival 2022 and more importantly there are no hospitalizations. We are very thankful for that,” the board of the foundation said in a press release.

The foundation attributed these positive findings to its strict COVID-19 protocols, cooperation from the public and constant communication with the Minister of Health Omar Ottley and his cabinet. The foundation explained that aforementioned protocols were developed for more than a year prior to Carnival 2022 and adjusted accordingly as the pandemic and the local situation dictated.

“We were ready with protocols in December 2020. Once vaccines became available in 2021, we adjusted our protocols in anticipation of having a Carnival in 2022. At a point in time the SCDF had more protocols in place for entry to Carnival Village than the government had for entry to the country. This is because we were adamant to host a safe festival for those who were vaccinated, tested and willing to attend,” the foundation said.

The foundation deployed its testing facilities in Carnival Village, manned by fully registered nurses, while individual show promoters had their separate testing facilities with registered personnel to facilitate testing for their respective shows. “Out of the hundreds of people we managed to test at our facility, three persons tested positive. Needless to say these persons were totally shocked because they had no idea they had the virus,” the foundation said.

“We had the expected back and forth discussions with the public about testing in general, but for the most part, the public were very cooperative. By far the majority of people that attended Carnival 2022 were all vaccinated,” the SCDF said, adding that testing did negatively affect the attendance of some shows in the Village, which wasn’t entirely unexpected.

The SCDF went on to highlight Minister Ottley’s crucial role in making Carnival 2022 happen. “The public have to understand that the Minister was under immense pressure to say no to Carnival under the circumstances. Before announcing anything we sat with him and his cabinet multiple times to determine how we can host the event in the safest way possible. Nothing would be 100% guaranteed and he had the ability to still pull the plug if need be,” the foundation said.

“To make it all happen, he could have only green-lighted one road event (the Grand parade) and all protocols were agreed upon and adjusted week by week, even during Carnival. Did it always go smoothly? No it did not, but by working together we pulled it off. Did the Minister take a big risk? Yes he did, but the Minister understood the importance of Carnival to the country economically, gave hundreds of people the opportunity to work again and trusted the SCDF to do what we promised. We are thankful for his support and thankful that everything turned out well,” the foundation concluded.  

Source: Souliga Newsday

Source: Souliga Newsday