Source: The Daily Herald
PHILIPSBURG–There are 68 shops on Front Street that have closed since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, said Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Ludmila de Weever during the live Council of Minister’s press briefing on Wednesday morning.
De Weever’s statement came in response to reporters asking about the number of businesses that have shut their doors because of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
While De Weever said she does not have up-to-date figures on the number of shuttered businesses across the country, she did say that 68 shops have closed on Philipsburg’s main Front Street.
“We are still busy doing an assessment of how many businesses have closed … of how many businesses have been affected by COVID-19. We already had a struggle with the economy since Hurricane Irma [in 2017 – Ed.] and as we were getting back to almost the same levels of visitors [as before], COVID-19 hit. …
“This COVID-19 pandemic has now made it almost impossible for those businesses that were just surviving. That is the unfortunate situation that we are in now,” she said.
Based on TEATT’s latest figures, St. Maarten’s unemployment rate stood at 16 percent. However, De Weever cautioned against these numbers, saying the current unemployment rate is likely to be “significantly higher.”