The Caribbean was resilient in the face of COVID-10, says Frank Comito, CEO and director general, Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), as many of the region’s governments, the tourism industry, and public health authorities, used their experiences with disasters to minimize its impact.
Comito, whose association is a member of the COVID-19 Caribbean Tourism Task Force, stated the Caribbean had effectively minimized the spread of the disease because health authorities, governments, and tourism industry stakeholders were able to adjust and apply health safety protocols used to effectively manage risks in the past.
“We are seeing an unprecedented level of collaboration and resolve to manage the risks from this new virus. Health safety protocols and guidelines are being put in place, mirroring the international standards which have been recommended and adding more stringent measures. Training is underway, and significant training and protocols will continue to come on stream. The process has not been easy as we are all treading uncharted waters, but we are all working from the common position of minimizing risks to our residents and travelers,” said Comito in a statement.
Now that stay-at-home orders are being rescinded, travelers are planning to turn their virtual happy hours and salsa dancing classes in for the real thing. Many have their sights set on the Caribbean, and here is Recommend’s comprehensive guide as to what is opening when. We will update this as orders lift and changes happen, so be sure to keep checking for all the latest Caribbean news here. Remember, #AmazingDaysAhead.
Antigua & Barbuda
The country’s Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment has determined that it is now ready to reopen the borders to international and regional travelers while employing a phased and controlled approach.
A series of travel safety protocols are being introduced that impact every element of the visitor experience, from arrivals at ports of entry, through ground transfers, resort accommodations, restaurants, tours and attractions.
During phase one, all arriving passengers must have a mask in their possession for disembarkation, which must be worn in public areas throughout their stay in Antigua and Barbuda. All arriving passengers must also complete a health declaration form. Screenings and thermal checks will occur on arrival, and passengers may be asked to undergo a rapid antigen test on arrival or at their hotel.
The government of Aruba has announced a tentative re-opening for inbound travel anywhere between June 15 and July 1.
The Aruba Tourism Authority, in collaboration with stakeholders and the Department of Public Health, has created a new ‘Aruba Health & Happiness Code’ to be implemented on the island. This new certification program will ensure Aruba’s visitors that the island will uphold the highest health and safety protocols throughout their stay.
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation, along with the Tourism Readiness and Recovery Committee, has created a five-phase plan for reopening and is targeting July 1 as the date to official reopen The Bahamas to tourists.
Properties on Nassau that will be reopening on July 1 include Baha Mar, Sandals Royal Bahamian, Atlantis Paradise Island, the Melia Nassau Beach-All Inclusive and The Ocean Club, a Four Seasons Resort.
Southwest and American Airlines will be resuming flights to Nassau in early July.
The Bahamas’ “Healthy Traveler Campaign” encourages travelers to continue practicing social distancing, to regularly wash their hands and use hand sanitizer, and pack appropriate PPE such as face masks.
At airports and seaports, temperature screenings for all incoming visitors will be conducted by healthcare personnel. Travelers will be required to wear a face mask in any situation where it is necessary to enforce physical distancing guidelines, such as when entering and transiting air and sea terminals, while navigating security and customs screenings, and at baggage claim. When departing, flights will be scheduled to every other gate to provide as much distance between flights as possible, and additional time will be provided for boarding to ensure that physical distancing can be maintained.
Jamaica will open to international travelers on June 15. A “resilient corridor” has been created, restricting the movement of visitors to the Northern end of the island from Negril to Port Antonio along the coast.
Kingston, which caters to business tourism, and the south coast will be incorporated in the second phase of the reopening process.
Face masks will be required at the airport, in taxis and at resorts.
As part of the island’s four-phased reopening, the island reopened on May 26. Arriving passengers should expect enhanced health screenings, including rapid COVID-19 testing and self-quarantining for 14 days is a possibility.
Face masks are mandatory when in public, and social distancing is required in malls and restaurants. Restaurants will operate at 25 percent maximum capacity, and temperature checks will be performed before entering.
Through June 15, an island-wide curfew is in place from 7 p.m. through 5 a.m.
The island opened on June 4 with one of the requirements in place, being a certified proof of negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of boarding a flight. Face masks are required upon arrival.
U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands reopened on June 1. Travelers are asked to travel with face masks, sanitizers, and wipes and should expect thermal imaging scanning upon entry.
Most of the hotels and resorts are open except Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St. Thomas that will be reopening on July 1 and Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas that will be reopening on July 15.
In preparation for the reopening of the Territory, the Department of Tourism has prepared “Health and Safety Guidelines for the USVI Tourism Industry” that includes procedures for operating reception and concierge facilities; cleaning and housekeeping; managing dining rooms; and providing technical and maintenance services. There is also specific subsector guidance for taxi, van, safari and limo services, restaurants and bars, and accommodations. For further information, go to usviupdate.com.