“Welcome to Statia, The Golden Rock” reads the sign on the control tower of F.D. Roosevelt Airport in St. Eustatius.
ST. EUSTATIUS–The Ninth Emergency Ordinance which is currently in effect in St. Eustatius has allowed for the easing of restrictions. Residents of Statia are able to move around more freely and the restrictions in terms of the size of public gatherings have also been eased. This is possible due to the fact that Statia is presently COVID-19-free, Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij stated.
“However, we wish to remind everyone to remain vigilant, and when moving about in large gatherings, kindly bear in mind the importance of practising proper hygiene standards. “The island’s strategy continues to allow the entry of essential workers for the further development of the economy of Statia, as there are a number of public and private-sector projects that are in need of specific expertise that is not readily available on the island. Gradually, essential workers are being allowed to enter the island in small, manageable groups. These workers are subject to the island’s travel and quarantine protocol,” Van Rij explained.
He made it clear that it was not the public entity of St. Eustatius that had told Windward Island Airways International Winair not to fly to the island.
Van Rij said he had participated in a conference call with Winair’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michael Cleaver and Governor of Saba Jonathan Johnson on Friday, July 3.
“Jonathan Johnson and I explained to the CEO of Winair what our rules are concerning travel. Winair took it upon themselves for good reasons … to schedule flights earlier than the decision by Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Cora van Nieuwenhuizen-Wijbenga made in respect to the prolonged travel restrictions above the Dutch Caribbean air spaces, and more particularly, respecting the policies of Statia and Saba,” Van Rij stated.
Winair then took the decision not to fly at all, which was not necessary, in Van Rij’s opinion, and he communicated that with Winair on Monday, July 6. Persons can travel to St. Maarten under certain conditions, as it is currently considered a low-risk island, which means that persons do not have to go into quarantine if they travel from St. Maarten to Statia.
Van Rij made it known that day trips and short visits to St. Maarten are possible; for example, for legal matters or urgent family visits.
“If your request is approved you will be forwarded to a travel agency for arranging a chartered flight at your own expense, but Winair is now also investigating how they will schedule flights, seeing that there is a certain demand for these types of trips,” Van Rij stated.
Considering that St. Maarten is a hub for persons needing to travel to Europe, travellers will always obtain permission for a charter that connects with outbound flights departing from St. Maarten.
Van Rij stated that Winair is organising a day trip to St. Maarten for Friday, July 10. Persons can contact 4-Piek Services NV for more information. The application deadline for the trip is today, Wednesday, July 8, at 5:00pm.
Five SXM Airways flights travelled between St. Maarten and Statia, and vice versa, on Monday.