CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES READY TO REOPEN FROM NEXT MONTH!
With the restriction of COVID-19 being lifted worldwide a few Caribbean countries will initiate reopening. With strict guidelines for inhabitants & tourists to start the welcome of vacationers for the Summer months to the respective islands.
In fairness the Caribbean reacted very swiftly to the Coronavirus outbreak, which have resulted in fewer affected cases than neighbouring countries.
Caribbean countries like Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Barbados & US Virgin Islands have yet to release their official reopening strategies. However, plans are moving quickly to ensure their protocols can be implemented soon!
Airlines are still awaiting approval from governments of;
- St. Maarten & St. Thomas;
- Kingston & Montego Bay, Jamaica;
- Nassau, Bahamas;
- Turks and Caicos;
- Punta Cana & Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic;
- San Juan, Puerto Rico;
- St. Croix;
Positive statements have been issued from Ministers & Governors from the various countries ready to accept tourists!
Prime Minister Evelyn Weber-Croes announced a tentative time frame between June 15 – July 1 for reopening the island.
“As a country that is heavily reliant on tourism, we are preparing to once again receive tourists, but will do so only when the proper processes are in place to ensure the safety of visitors and our people,” said the prime minister in a May 8 press release.
The country has instituted island-wide protocols that “adhere to the highest standards of health, sanitation, and social distancing” according to the press release.
The Minister of Tourism, Dominic Fedee, announced that the first phase of reopening St Lucia will begin on June 4. The plan will lift the ban on international flights from the United States only.
“(The strategy), protects nationals and visitors from the threat of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) through advance testing; daily screening and monitoring of staff and visitors; sanitization at various points throughout the travelers’ journey; and new social distancing protocols,” explains a press release from St Lucia Tourism.
Approximately 1500 hotel rooms in the country are preparing to open, pending completion of the country’s new COVID-19 certification process. New protocols for visitors include proof of a negative test within 48 hours of a St Lucia-bound flight; using a face mask and practicing social distancing upon arrival and being subject to temperature checks and screening by health authorities at ports entry.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced tentative plans for the country to reopen its borders “on or before” July 1. The deliberate approach will be based entirely on the number of COVID-19 infections in the country.
“We are looking at a possible date for commercial travel on or before July 1 of this year,” the Bahamas prime minister explained, according to the Tribune News – a Bahamian news organization. “These dates may change depending on the circumstance. I want to repeat, however, that this date is not final. It will be adjusted if we see a deterioration of the COVID-19 infection trends or if we determine that the protocols and procedures are not in place sufficiently to warrant this opening.”
ANTIGUA & BARBUDA
The country of Antigua announced it would be opening its borders on June 1. Initial plans were to quarantine visitors for 14 days upon arrival, but policymakers quickly realized it would not be realistic.
“We think the average length of stay will be seven days and not 14 days,” Information Minister, Melford Nicholas told The Antigua Observer. “It’s not going to be feasible to impose a 14-day quarantine on a would-be visitor.”
There are still a number of guidelines and regulations that still need to be hashed out, like how much visitors will have to pay for a rapid virus test at ports of entry, but the country remains optimistic it can successfully reopen by early next month.
Gov. Wanda Vazquez announced the reopening of beaches, restaurants and other businesses for May 26, according to Travel Pulse.
Though travel to Puerto Rico was never officially banned for US citizens, the tourism board has instituted a gold-star system for tourism-related businesses that adhere to the new, stricter health and safety measures.
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell announced tentative plans to reopen the country in June.
“We collectively agreed to start gradually relaxing the restrictions for travel, as the pandemic in the region has been largely contained,” the prime minister said in an article posted in the Caribbean Journal. “Governments, airlines and hotels are now finalising the details of the phased re-opening. Assuming the requisite protocols are in place, we expect to open our borders in the first week of June.”
Source provided by Lonely Planet 25th May 2020.