Published On: Wed, Jul 6th, 2022

Minister Ottley wants to make EHAS more effective

PHILIPSBURG — Starting on August 1, vaccinated travelers to St. Maarten will be able to get pre-approval for entering the country by using EHAS (Electronic Health Authorization System), Public Health Minister Omar Ottley announced in a press release.

The intention is to make EHAS more convenient by allowing vaccinated persons to receive an immediate pre-approval, once the form is filled out in its entirety,” Ottley’s press release states.

In St. Maarten, entry requirements that have been in place since April 1, 2022, remain unchanged. The detailed travel requirements can be found online at stmaartenehas.com/travel-requirements/.

Minister Ottley claims in his press release that “by allowing an automated immediate response, many cancellations can be avoided.”

Travelers that have received pre-approval will still be checked upon arrival. They may be requested to test locally if their documents are not valid. The government has also implemented mandatory COVID-19 insurance for travelers; this does not apply to St. Maarten residents, transit passengers that leave the same day, flight crews, transiting cruise ship crews, French nationals residing in France or in a French territory, BES-ZVK insured as well as faculty and students of the American University of the Caribbean (AUC).

The press release refutes claims that EHAS has a negative effect on the number of visitors. “In the high season of 2021-2022 St. Maarten was at approximately 120 percent of its 2019 pre-COVID arrival numbers and to date we are at 90 percent of the 2019 arrivals.”

The minister also points out that Aruba does not require any testing before entering the country, but that travelers still have to fill out an ED-form prior to arrival and that the country still has a night life closure time of 1 a.m. on weekdays. Travelers to the United States have to be vaccinated as well.

“This shows that everyone is trying to find a balance that would protect their population, while still attracting visitors,” the minister states.

Ottley announced that the intention is to transition EHAS into the country’s Port Health Authority, adding that this is mandatory for all countries in the kingdom.

Lastly, the press release states that Ottley is “working on transitioning the EHAS to a more effective system that fosters safety without negatively affecting visitor-numbers.”

The minister’s plan is “to allow this automated approval to be accessible for all visitors regardless of their vaccination status by October 15.”


Publisher’s Note:

We asked an experience traveler who travel often to and from St. Maarten what he think of this development and he wrote the following:
Entering SXM the last four times has not been that big of an event. Sometimes the lines are much longer than other times depending on the flights of course.
The medical people on entry are all efficient. The last entrance required I believe two pages to be filled out to declare the vaccination with a vax card needing to be downloaded.
I don’t miss getting tested. My concern is non-vaxers simply printing their own card or getting a copy of one on the net. My vax card comes from a very large national pharmacy, but I could have printed it myself.
I don’t think this is a big problem.
Going back to the EHAS mandate, it is simpler now with the automated approval. People just have to remember to do it.
To avoid the long lines in St. Maarten at the SXM Airport, visit www.vipservices.sx to book Fast Track Services with us. A service of AirStMaarten | AirSXM.com.