SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) has rolled out a safety and health plan for Carnival 2021 with the most COVID-19 preventative measures than any other event to date. The foundation went public for the first time with a plan that covers every aspect of the festival in April and one that attempts to create a fully sanitized bubble in Carnival Village.
In other words, every person that enters the village will pass through sanitizing measures including state-of-the-art sanitizing tunnels. Once in Carnival Village patrons will have to adhere to strict measures (see below). The foundation also secured its only road events, the Parades, as much as possible with a spacious route change and restrictions for the troupes.
“There has been no event in the COVID-19 era on St. Maarten that has employed as many measures as we will in April. We are taking the issue as serious as we take Carnival very year. We are a well-equipped foundation that probably was more ‘COVID ready’ before COVID even struck,” President of the SCDF Alston Lourens said.
He explained that prior to COVID Carnival was used as a staging point for many of government’s health related pilot projects. Health initiatives that are now the standard island-wide, was first used in Carnival. “So when COVID came on the scene, we simply had to add to some of our existing measures,” Lourens said.
The extensive Carnival 2021 plan is as follows:
- Additional hand-washing stations in the vicinity of the rest rooms will be placed
- Masks will be required upon entering Carnival Village and are to be worn as long as patrons are not eating or drinking.
- Six sanitizing walk-through mist stations will be placed at the entrances to Carnival Village. These will be in operation 23-7. These machines also perform temperature checks.
- Possibility of Rapid Antigen testing being performed at Carnival Village (still being discussed).
- Possibility of rapid testing for all Village staff.
- Two additional mist stations will be on premises, one back stage, one leading to the main office of SCDF.
- Sheriff Security team will also be carrying hand thermometers and will be wearing face shields, masks and gloves. The security team will also be equipped but a portable fogger.
- Cleaning crew will double its manpower and execute increased thorough cleaning of public areas.
- The usual health & hygiene random inspections will be executed by government health inspectors.
- A fully stocked kiosk with face masks, sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizers (for sale) will be erected in Carnival Village and will be functional 24-7
- No vehicles will be allowed in the Village at any point in time. This will allow booth holders to spread out their seating arrangements and social distance.
- All events will be streamed LIVE to allow person to view at home.
- There will be no tickets sold at the gate for any event, thereby minimizing lines and people having to stand close to each other to get into the Village. All tickets for every event to be sold in advance. In the event of lines forming, SCDF has enough volunteers to ensure social distancing at the gates.
- 4,000 maximum in attendance. A reduction from 12,000 max. This allows a crowd to spread out in the Village.
- The crowd will be encouraged to spread out as much as possible
- No water trucks or pools during any concert.
- All events will be live streamed for those not wanting to attend physically.
- Three hand sanitizing units must be placed at each booth.
- A box of masks at every booth just in case
- All booths will be sanitized by a professional crew every morning before the booths are operational.
- Booth holders will wipe down/sanitize the booth every hour.
- Booth holders will minimize the seating areas or spread out and encourage take out at lunch.
- Workers in the booth will at all times wear masks.
- Booth holders may be subjected to rapid tests in the Carnival period.
- SCDF will convert one of its VIP sections as a food court for persons who do not want to dine at the booth.
- Parade strategically placed at the end of Carnival
- The parade will NOT traverse Fronstreet to avoid crowds in close proximity of each other. The Grand Parade starting point will be MPC. The route will move along Pondfill where it is more open and spacious, not Frontstreet.
- Troupe leaders must space their revelers accordingly. Revelers should be masked.
- Troupe helpers must be masked and wearing gloves when serving food and drinks
- Band members must be masked. Singers can be unmasked.
- Revelers should have no interaction with onlookers.
- Parade onlookers should social distance in their own group along the route.
- Picture taking will be from a distance, not close-up with onlookers.
- Revelers and band members must have small hand sanitizer units on their person.
- Revelers jammin’ on each other are strictly prohibited. Revelers caught doing this will be removed by police.
- An elaborate COVID-19 Awareness Campaign where stakeholders (booth holders, Calypsonians, hosts, artists, pageant contestants, police, sponsors, revelers, troop leaders, djs, promoters etc) will be involved to inform the public about the new measures.
- Awareness videos are being produced to be played on digital billboards and throughout Carnival Village 24-7. Radio will also be used.
- Daily updates and reminders of measures in Carnival Village.
- Show MC’s will actively relay safety measures throughout any show.
- Effective signage, digital and banners, will be visible everywhere in Carnival Village and leading to the Village.