Ranked among the most COVID-resilient regions in the world, the Caribbean continues to adjust its reopening strategies for the wellbeing of both visitors and residents. Notably, Belize and the Cayman Islands have both postponed their reopening to international tourism; however, other Caribbean islands have been enacting new entry protocols and re-closing borders after a spike in cases.
Belize postpones its August 15th Reopening
Belize has announced the country has delayed the re-opening of the island due to a spike in local COVID cases. The country is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases, and in a press conference held last week, the Prime Minister of Belize, Rt. Hon. Dean O. Barrow, in an overabundance of caution, announced that it was necessary to delay the re-opening of the Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE), which was scheduled for August 15th, 2020.
“As the official destination marketing organization for the country, the safety and comfort of our visitors and residents are of utmost priority for the Belize Tourism Board (BTB). We are continually assessing risks and working with our partners to create protocols; to ensure a safe environment for residents and guests when international visitation resumes.”
– The Belize Tourism Board in a recent statement
The following is expected to still be in place once Belize reopens:
- All international/short-term travelers must present a negative coronavirus test completed within 72 hours before entering the country; otherwise, a rapid test will be conducted. All incoming citizens, residents, and long-term visitors must take a mandatory PCR Test on arrival at the airport and quarantine for one day while results are processed. Both testing requirements, and quarantine, are at the passenger’s expense.
- Once international tourists are health screened, they’ll be restricted to their Gold Standard recognized accommodation in Belize. Returning residents that test negative must also self-isolate for two weeks at home; clearance is needed to return into the community.
- Returning residents will wear a health monitoring device for continuous screening during their 13-day home quarantine.
Upon reopening, Belize will have put in place several new safety measures that include a Tourism Gold Standard program and a Health App to give travelers added peace of mind during their vacation.
The Cayman Islands postpones its September 1st Reopening
The Cayman Islands will not reopen its borders for international tourism on September 1st as planned. The country has delayed its reopening for international tourism until at least October 1st; citing a rise in COVID-19 cases in other countries, including the United States. The reopening will be evaluated again prior to October 1st; a decision on whether to move forward or not will be made at that at time.
“That having continually monitored the rate of infection in other countries, particularly in the United States where the pandemic is still widespread, Cabinet has taken the decision to extend the Islands border closure for an additional 30 days; until 1st October 2020, at which time a further decision will be made,” the government said in a statement.
Although some airlines scheduled flights and accepted bookings, the Cayman Islands government has said that it did not grant approval for any commercial flights. Repatriation flights by Cayman Airways are expected to continue as needed and the air bridge between the United Kingdom and the Cayman Islands will remain open for citizens returning home according to Travel Pulse. The Cayman Islands originally announced they would reopen their borders in September.
The following strict protocols which are expected to still be in place once the Cayman Islands reopen:
- All travelers must present a negative coronavirus test completed within 72 hours before entering the country.
- Once travelers depart their planes, they will be required to self-quarantine for five days and present a second negative test before being permitted to freely roam the tropical paradise
- All travelers will wear a health monitoring device for continuous screening while in the Cayman Islands.