PHILIPSBURG – Less than 24 hours notice for a two week shut down was given to nightclubs, bars, coffee houses and adult entertainment venues in St Maarten on Saturday. These businesses have been ordered to close from Sunday 16th August until Monday 31st August 2020. St Maarten has reached a grim milestone with 176 active Coronavirus cases as of August 15th.
Ludmila de Weever, Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) describes the significant increase in active cases and hospitalisations is a matter of great concern: “The rate at which the Covid-19 is spreading is very worrying. In the context in the health of the citizens and medical capacity government intervention is of urgent importance.”
Restaurants and bars licensed to serve food will be able to remain open until 10pm under the new regulations. One bartender who works at a restaurant and bar in Simpson Bay thinks for them, the proposal is a good idea since ‘business has dropped right off between 9pm and 11pm we don’t get any customers anyway.’
On the other side of Simpson Bay however, Rosie Adamus who works at Soggy Dollar Bar is scared and wonders “if they are going to pause the rent too, because the jobs are paused? Are they considering that?’
Bartender Rosie is worried about het income
Kurt is Rosie’s employer. He is very aware of the impact the shut down will have upon his business and his staff. ‘At the end of the day I have people out of work and they have families to feed. If this continues until the end of the year, I might as well shut down.’
Bar owner Kurt is thinking about shutting down
Deputy Prime Minister Egbert Doran said that the adjusted business hours are in place to protect the people of St Maarten and that the island is not yet under a state of emergency.