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Travel report 8-6 #231638
08/07/2020 07:45 AM
08/07/2020 07:45 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 549
Florida & Beacon Hill, SXM
GaryB Offline OP
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GaryB  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 549
Florida & Beacon Hill, SXM
Background: I am a property owner in Sint Maarten, from Florida, age 66 and this trip was to complete some remodeling of my home there. So it was not for vacation or a short stay. The supplies have been sitting on site since early July. I needed to travel now before or if the island might shut down again.

This trip was on August 6, 2020. Regulations are subject to change at any time. The only place in my opinion to see those regulations is on the Ministry of Health site, not the tourist minister site as she is not making the rules. And the people at the SXM airport work for the Health Ministry so they follow his rules.
Day of travel: Departure was from Orlando to Miami then to SXM on American airlines. At check-in in Orlando and at get in Miami the airline was requiring to see/check that you had a negative Covid test AND the online entry form from the SXM Health Ministry. The airline was looking for the paperwork but I don’t think they knew what it had to say. Flight to SXM was maybe 1/3 full.

Upon arrival you enter the arrival hall. First stop is one of 4 health ministry booths. Lots of people to guide you. This is where the check your test paperwork and online form. If you pass the next stop is the immigration booths to check your passport and immigration form. After that it is baggage claim and exit.
Now if your health docs fail you are sent to another line to pay to be re-tested. The cost is $125 and you can pay in cash or credit card. After payment you are directed to another line to wait for a nurse to administer the Covid test. This is the one with the deep nasal swap. (Not painful but a little uncomfortable). You provide an email and phone number for them to contact with results. You are told to remain at home/room in isolation until they notify you of pass or fail. Test result can be in 24-72 hours. They sent you an email right away asking you to take your temperature every morning and report it back to them via web site for the next 14 days. After the testing you are sent around to the immigration passport line.

After attempting to travel to SXM since June I have been following the rule changes carefully. I had done two separate test runs of tests and lots of research to see which test were actually done and how long. On August 3rd I had an rt-PRC test and a SARS-Covid-2 NAA test done (two separate places). The PRC being the one SXM wants. As expected the PRC test was not back within the 72 hours but the NAA was. I uploaded the NAA test to the island web site and got an email back in about an hour with clearance. Think it is an automated system with no real review of documents. The test did not pass at the SXM airport and I had to be re-tested. It was what I had expected and the gamble I was willing to take to get back on the island.

I discussed the test I had with the supervisor at the health desks to confirm what they were looking for. The test has to say it is an rt-PRC test, be within 72 hours AND not have the FDA notice on it. She was very friendly and kept saying it is OK you only have to be retest. I think she was just trying to be sure I understood I was not going to be sent back.

All in all travel to Sint Maarten is a risk right now if you don’t have EXACTLY the docs they are looking for. Both to your health and wallet. Everything is life is a risk. YOU have to decide what amount of risk you are willing to take.

Hope you find this report helpful. Regards and safe travels.


GaryB
SXM Sponsors
Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: GaryB] #231641
08/07/2020 07:53 AM
08/07/2020 07:53 AM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,581
Rhode Island
RonDon Offline
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RonDon  Offline
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Posts: 3,581
Rhode Island
Thank you very much for posting your experience.

Are you still on island? Please post your experience upon return to USA, if you would.

Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: GaryB] #231643
08/07/2020 08:06 AM
08/07/2020 08:06 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,704
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Posts: 15,704
Ohio
Thanks for the update.


J.D.
Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: GaryB] #231645
08/07/2020 08:21 AM
08/07/2020 08:21 AM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 837
Florida
W
wilsonck Offline
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wilsonck  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 837
Florida
Question about your RT-PCR test, did it have the Emergency Use Authorization message on it?

Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: GaryB] #231650
08/07/2020 10:38 AM
08/07/2020 10:38 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,782
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Online content
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SXMScubaman  Online Content
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Auburn, WA
Thanks for that detailed experience and explanation.

Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: GaryB] #231652
08/07/2020 10:49 AM
08/07/2020 10:49 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 72,836
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Central Florida!
Gary--thanks for the report. Glad to hear you finally made it to SXM. Has your test you took in SXM come back yet?


Carol Hill
Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: GaryB] #231656
08/07/2020 11:15 AM
08/07/2020 11:15 AM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 3,974
Kennys Online content
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Kennys  Online Content
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Welcome back and thanks for the details.

Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: wilsonck] #231657
08/07/2020 11:40 AM
08/07/2020 11:40 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 549
Florida & Beacon Hill, SXM
GaryB Offline OP
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GaryB  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 549
Florida & Beacon Hill, SXM
Yes, that test as well as all the other tests I tried had the FDA notice on it.


GaryB
Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: Carol_Hill] #231658
08/07/2020 11:43 AM
08/07/2020 11:43 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 549
Florida & Beacon Hill, SXM
GaryB Offline OP
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GaryB  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 549
Florida & Beacon Hill, SXM
Just got a call from SXM Health that my re-test at airport arrival was in and negative.
Less than 24 hours.
I am free to roam the Dutch side of the island.


GaryB
Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: RonDon] #231659
08/07/2020 11:44 AM
08/07/2020 11:44 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 549
Florida & Beacon Hill, SXM
GaryB Offline OP
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GaryB  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 549
Florida & Beacon Hill, SXM
Yes Ron, still on island. Will be here for 3-4 months.


GaryB
Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: GaryB] #231660
08/07/2020 11:47 AM
08/07/2020 11:47 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 72,836
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Central Florida!
Gary--Great! Glad you are able to get some things done there.


Carol Hill
Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: GaryB] #231671
08/07/2020 07:14 PM
08/07/2020 07:14 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 6,954
Vermont
sxmmartini Offline
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sxmmartini  Offline
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Posts: 6,954
Vermont
I am a property owner as well. Thank you for sharing your experience. I could have never thought this could happen. I have been an owner since 1990 and in my wildest nightmares could never have believed something like this! The Hurricanes were something I accepted as a possibility but NOT this. It must be a relief to at least have returned and secured the property. My biggest fear is a crime wave. Riots and civil unrest. I pray for my friends who live close by and hope this stays civil. The jumping through hoops for me is not possible in order to return soon. My blood pressure is very high and my health is not very good. Safe travels and let us all pray this will get better and not any worse.

Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: GaryB] #231687
08/08/2020 09:19 AM
08/08/2020 09:19 AM
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 6
L
LoveSXM333 Offline
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LoveSXM333  Offline
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L
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 6
Thanks GaryB. Very informative post. Where exactly on the PCR test result form is the FDA emergency use statement?
Thanks

Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: LoveSXM333] #231719
08/09/2020 07:43 AM
08/09/2020 07:43 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 549
Florida & Beacon Hill, SXM
GaryB Offline OP
Traveler
GaryB  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 549
Florida & Beacon Hill, SXM
Varies by lab but normally in the text part of the results. All the different test I took in Florida where clear and easy to read. But the FDA notice was only on the results. Never mentioned in any sites information about the type of test they were doing.


GaryB
Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: LoveSXM333] #232044
08/12/2020 09:35 AM
08/12/2020 09:35 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 549
Florida & Beacon Hill, SXM
GaryB Offline OP
Traveler
GaryB  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 549
Florida & Beacon Hill, SXM
As of 8-11 the Health Minister has removed the statement about not accepting test result with the FDA emergency authorization statement.
So your test results CAN have that statement on it.


GaryB
Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: GaryB] #232045
08/12/2020 09:38 AM
08/12/2020 09:38 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 72,836
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Posts: 72,836
Central Florida!
Gary--was there any official announcement of that, or is your statement based on what has been observed, that the no "EUA" requirement has been removed from the website?


Carol Hill
Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: GaryB] #232093
08/12/2020 05:48 PM
08/12/2020 05:48 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,820
Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
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boucharda  Offline
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Posts: 3,820
Massachusetts
Being removed from the website and acceptance at the airport might be two different things...

Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: boucharda] #232098
08/12/2020 06:22 PM
08/12/2020 06:22 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,704
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Posts: 15,704
Ohio
Originally Posted by boucharda
Being removed from the website and acceptance at the airport might be two different things...

Correct. The "powers that be" are not doing themselves any favors with the constant changes and flip-flopping on what may or may not be required. There also seems to be a significant lack of communication down the line. Reading it on Facebook or other forms of social media should NOT be the official way to disseminate pertinent information.


J.D.
Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: boucharda] #232099
08/12/2020 06:41 PM
08/12/2020 06:41 PM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 837
Florida
W
wilsonck Offline
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wilsonck  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 837
Florida
Originally Posted by boucharda
Being removed from the website and acceptance at the airport might be two different things...


I sent a message yesterday via the contact us on the stmaartenehas.com website. Still waiting for an answer.

Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: wilsonck] #232105
08/12/2020 08:42 PM
08/12/2020 08:42 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,782
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Online content
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SXMScubaman  Online Content
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Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,782
Auburn, WA
Can't wait for the answer.

Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: boucharda] #233135
08/26/2020 04:46 PM
08/26/2020 04:46 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 549
Florida & Beacon Hill, SXM
GaryB Offline OP
Traveler
GaryB  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 549
Florida & Beacon Hill, SXM
The requirement that if your test results had the FDA EU statement on it that the test would not be accepted by SXM has been removed.
See Ministry of Health web site (not a Facebook site or social media page) here: https://stmaartenehas.com/travel-requirements/
The staff checking the covid test results at the SXM airport work for the Health Ministry.
Not the airport or tourist bureau.

Been here 3 weeks and no issues other than have to report my temp every day for first 14 days via email notice from Health Ministry with web site link.
After the 14 days I have not had any new contact with them. :-)

One side effect of less tourists is that there is no traffic on the roads. But that benefit is NOT worth the cost to local economy.
Everyone has to judge their own personal tolerance of the risk of travel these days.
But if you are comfortable with that, come on down the beaches are fine.
Happy travels!


GaryB
Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: GaryB] #233137
08/26/2020 04:54 PM
08/26/2020 04:54 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 3,974
Kennys Online content
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Kennys  Online Content
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Posts: 3,974
Thanks.

Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: GaryB] #233141
08/26/2020 06:13 PM
08/26/2020 06:13 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 72,836
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Posts: 72,836
Central Florida!
Yes, that is a good thing that requirement was removed.


Carol Hill
Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: GaryB] #233163
08/27/2020 07:38 AM
08/27/2020 07:38 AM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 595
Grosse Pointe, Michigan
Leagle49 Offline
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Leagle49  Offline
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Posts: 595
Grosse Pointe, Michigan
How do you take your temperature? Did you bring yuor own thermometer does the resort do it? All we have is the old fashioned glass one.

Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: Leagle49] #233165
08/27/2020 08:38 AM
08/27/2020 08:38 AM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,581
Rhode Island
RonDon Offline
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RonDon  Offline
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Rhode Island
Originally Posted by Leagle49
How do you take your temperature? Did you bring yuor own thermometer does the resort do it? All we have is the old fashioned glass one.

Get one of those strips that you place across your forehead. Gives a quick reading.

Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: Leagle49] #233178
08/27/2020 10:41 AM
08/27/2020 10:41 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,782
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Online content
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SXMScubaman  Online Content
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Posts: 12,782
Auburn, WA
Who is to stop someone from just replying 98.6 daily whether they took it or not? duh

Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: SXMScubaman] #233181
08/27/2020 10:59 AM
08/27/2020 10:59 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 72,836
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Posts: 72,836
Central Florida!
Scubaman--absolutely. Ridiculous requirement.


Carol Hill
Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: Carol_Hill] #233184
08/27/2020 11:02 AM
08/27/2020 11:02 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,782
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Online content
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SXMScubaman  Online Content
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Posts: 12,782
Auburn, WA
Ya got that right. Just a big inconvenience to have to do that with no purpose.

Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: SXMScubaman] #233191
08/27/2020 11:57 AM
08/27/2020 11:57 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,704
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Posts: 15,704
Ohio
Originally Posted by SXMScubaman
Who is to stop someone from just replying 98.6 daily whether they took it or not? duh

Yep, another false sense of security.


J.D.
Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: RonDon] #233192
08/27/2020 11:59 AM
08/27/2020 11:59 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,704
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,704
Ohio
Originally Posted by RonDon
Originally Posted by Leagle49
How do you take your temperature? Did you bring yuor own thermometer does the resort do it? All we have is the old fashioned glass one.

Get one of those strips that you place across your forehead. Gives a quick reading.

And they are highly inaccurate.

LINK


J.D.
Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: ruralcarrier] #233194
08/27/2020 12:26 PM
08/27/2020 12:26 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,782
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Online content
Traveler
SXMScubaman  Online Content
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,782
Auburn, WA
We have one of those forehead scanners from Amazon. Easy to use and travel with.

Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: SXMScubaman] #233199
08/27/2020 01:12 PM
08/27/2020 01:12 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,022
Maryland/DC Metro
BeachKitten Offline
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BeachKitten  Offline
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Maryland/DC Metro
Has anyone accidentally (or on purpose to test it) NOT done the daily reporting? Did anything happen? Knocks on the door? lol


"It is good to do nothing all day, and then to rest" wink
Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: SXMScubaman] #233215
08/27/2020 04:18 PM
08/27/2020 04:18 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,704
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,704
Ohio
Originally Posted by SXMScubaman
We have one of those forehead scanners from Amazon. Easy to use and travel with.

A forehead scanner is much different from the strip type you place across your forehead.


J.D.
Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: ruralcarrier] #233219
08/27/2020 05:14 PM
08/27/2020 05:14 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,782
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Online content
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SXMScubaman  Online Content
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Posts: 12,782
Auburn, WA
Originally Posted by ruralcarrier
Originally Posted by SXMScubaman
We have one of those forehead scanners from Amazon. Easy to use and travel with.

A forehead scanner is much different from the strip type you place across your forehead.

Correct. They also have a varied degree of accuracy. Had to have temp taken this morning for a massage appointment. Read 2 degrees low. When I told the receptionist she agreed it sometimes did.. Lot of good that does.

Re: Travel report 8-6 [Re: SXMScubaman] #233221
08/27/2020 05:39 PM
08/27/2020 05:39 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,704
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Posts: 15,704
Ohio
Yep, and when this first started, some places (perhaps mostly outside the US) were using asphalt type thermometers that had a 7 degree variation.

While visiting a friend in assisted living, the person doing the temperatures knew daily if the scanner thermometer was reading high or low and usually 2-3 degrees off normal. I guess some think doing something is better than doing nothing but if the relative accuracy is not there, it really does little or no good.


J.D.

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