As the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread throughout the world, the Caribbean is taking aggressive action and putting policies into place in an effort to help control its spread. Following are current restrictions, but please remember, the situation is fluid, as are both potential and existing policies.
It’s important to remember: Measures adopted by local authorities change quickly and are usually effective immediately. Authorities are carefully monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in other countries and are therefore likely to modify – at very short notice – the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the country or region in question. All Caribbean nations urge travelers to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
In an abundance of caution, AM Resorts has implemented several new policies and procedures beyond their already stringent health and safety protocols. These policies include enhanced protocols, situation monitoring and increased flexibility with respect to changing dates, cancelations and future bookings.
These additional standards follow recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The World Health Organization (WHO), and the Cristal International Standards.
AM Resorts recently updated their cancellation penalty policy for existing reservations. Effective immediately, AM Resorts is waiving penalty fees for cancellations made within 72 hours of travel for group reservations of 39 rooms or less (policy in effect through May 15, 2020).
AM Resorts Caribbean and Jamaican properties are closed until June 1 and the Dominican Republic properties are scheduled to reopen on myriad dates beginning mid April through May 8. However, please check back as these dates are likely to change as the situation unfolds.
“Even in these challenging times, please know that we remain at your service. Our AM Resorts values are founded in a heartfelt commitment to you, your well-being and delivering amazing vacation experiences when you choose to travel,” says Gonzalo del Peón, president, AM Resorts, in a statement. “And as trying as these times are, let’s remember that there is perhaps no other region in the world as experienced and equipped with disaster recovery than the Caribbean, who despite the current COVID-19 crisis, anticipates returning to business as usual as soon as it is safe to welcome back your groups once again to their much beloved shores.
Antigua and Barbuda
On March 13, 2020, Antigua and Barbuda reported its first confirmed case of coronavirus. Travel advisories were issued denying entry to any foreign national (including passengers and crew) who has travelled to China, Italy, Iran, Japan, Korea and Singapore the past twenty-eight (28) days. However, citizens of Antigua and Barbuda as well as resident diplomats will be allowed entry.
Aruba, one of the Caribbean’s most popular destinations, has launched a series of aggressive measures to contain and prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus.
The Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba has officially restricted all non-residents of Aruba from entering the island (although non-residents have been allowed to leave the island).
On Thursday, Aruba stepped up its Coronavirus fight, mandating that all establishments close at 8 PM every day through March 31, 2020.
That includes exceptions for restaurants offering drive-through or delivery, both of which will also close at 10 PM.
Dining rooms will close at 8 PM.
On March 19, all of Aruba’s casinos, movie theaters and gyms will have been closed, while all group sporting events will also have been canceled.
“We understand this causes disruption to your travel plans, but your safety and the wellbeing of our locals continues to be our number one priority,” the Aruba Tourism Authority said in a statement.
On March 16, the Bahamas reported its first case of COVID-19 in Nassau. The patient self isolated and is following the guidelines outlined by WHO and the CDC. A mandatory curfew is in effect through March 31.
The Bahamas has implemented new border control and quarantine measures for persons traveling from highly infected areas. Foreign nationals and foreign individuals who have travelled within the last 20 days from the UK, Ireland, and Europe will be prohibited entry into The Bahamas, in addition to restrictions already in place for China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea. This restricted travel list of countries will be continuously monitored and updated as necessary.
Traveler health questionnaires and a screening protocol are being used at ports, hotels, and rental properties to identify persons who may require surveillance or treatment. In addition, all Bahamian nationals and residents returning to The Bahamas through any point of entry from any of the restricted countries or an area where community infection and spread is present will be quarantined or be placed under self-isolation upon arrival and are expected to follow the protocols of the Ministry of Health.
The Bahamas’ Club Med Columbus Isle is closed through May 1, 2020.
At press time, there were no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Belize, and the Belize government is taking no chances, and has banned entry for all individuals who have traveled to China, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, South Korea, the UK, and Europe within the last 30 days.
In addition, all Belizean nationals and residents returning to Belize from a country where community spread of the virus is present will be placed under self-isolation upon arrival into the country. All ports of entry to Belize except for cargo vessels have also been closed, with only the Santa Elena border and the Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) open. As a precautionary measure, the government has urged people to defer all non-essential travel out of the country. Plus, indoor and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 100 people. But please expect changes to these policies in this highly fluid environment.
The island has so far seen only one case of the deadly virus on its shores but has taken immediate steps to slow any possible spread of COVID-19 in an effort to minimize potential risk to its economy.
As of March 22, in an attempt to stem the spread of COVID-19, Cayman’s authority has shut down air travel in and out of the island for the next three weeks and covers both the Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman and the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport on Cayman Brac.
All passenger air traffic, including private aircraft, ceased on Sunday, March 22, when the islands will essentially be on lockdown. Inter-island travel will also be restricted to essential movement only. This new emergency measure follows a 60-day ban on cruise ship arrivals announced last Friday.
As of March 21, Costa Rica has 117 confirmed cases of COVID-19. After declaring a state of emergency, Costa Rica Border has closed all borders to foreigners. The closure is in force until April 12 and could be prolonged. Only Costa Ricans and foreigners with a residence may enter; however, they must formally commit to 14 days in solitary confinement in their homes. Costa Rican authorities have also closed all bars in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. Restaurants and food courts are open, though may only seat 50 percent of their defined capacity. Costa Ricans are also called upon to avoid nonessential travel.
The Dominican Republic has declared of a state of emergency as confirmed cases of COVID-19 has more than doubled on Friday, March 20, jumping to 72 infections.
The Dominican Republic has shut its borders by land, sea, and air. In addition, the government has banned all local and international cultural, artistic, and sports events and has closed all entertainment venues such as bars and clubs and other similar establishments. The only exception to the sweeping measure are for the departure of foreign citizens who want to return to their countries of origin, and the arrival of planes, cargo ships, and fuel ships to guarantee supplies to the population.
The state of emergency is to be in effect for 25 days and enable President Danilo Medina to provisionally suppress freedom of transit and adopt other containment measures in the country’s COVID-19 response.
Following the decision to close the borders, Club Med Punta Cana and Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda has temporarily suspended operations through May 1, 2020.
The Excellence Collection has temporarily closed its two resorts: Excellence Punta Cana as well as Excellence El Carmen, with plans to reopen on June 5, 2020.
Guadeloupe health officials report there is currently 18 cases of COVID-19 in the country. On March 17, in what might be the most aggressive move by any Caribbean destination so far, Guadeloupe has suspended all international flights for the next 30 days.
Beginning Mach 22, Guadeloupe suspended all passenger flights connecting the territory with mainland France, a move in accordance with the broader European Union closing its borders to minimize the spread of the virus.
The Government of Jamaica has implemented enhanced screening and quarantine measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As of March 21, Jamaican airports and seaports were closed to incoming passenger traffic for 14 days due to the pandemic. The U.S. Embassy in Kingston issued a Global Level 4 Health Alert for the country.
Jamaica has imposed travel restrictions to include nine countries: China, Italy, South Korea, Singapore, Iran, Spain, France, Germany and the UK. Travelers who have been to these countries in the past 14 days will not be landed on arrival to the island. In addition, all persons arriving in Jamaica, regardless of destination of origin, are subject to self-quarantine for 14 days.
The Government of Saint Lucia has announced the Implementation of Heightened Protocol and Social Distancing Regime with partial scale down of all non-essential economic and social activities for a two-week period, March 23-April 5, 2020.
In accordance to the French Government travel restrictions, Martinique International Airport is not allowing inbound flight to the Island. As a further step, all international flights to/from Martinique are canceled starting March 23rd, 2020.
Turks and Caicos
As of March 20, the Turks and Caicos reported zero confirmed cases of COVID-19. However, this island nation is taking no chances and has announced, effective March 24, the following measures: all airports closed to regional and international flights; all sea ports closed to regional and international seafaring; and no visitors permitted to enter or transit through the Turks and Caicos Islands for a period of 21 days, or until such date as the Governor may be specify.
For more information on this fluid situation, visit Recommend’s Coronavirus Updates Center at recommend.com/coronavirus.