Whether due to an uptick in local cases or from incoming destinations, these Caribbean islands postpone reopening for tourism.
Belize postpones its previously scheduled August 15th reopening, until further notice
Belize has postponed the reopening of its Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. The airport was previously scheduled to reopen on August 15 for chartered flights, private aviation and international leisure travel with approved Gold Standard recognized hotels only. Prime Minister Rt. Dean Barrow, who made the announced at a press conference on Aug. 5, said that although the airport will not reopen, the weekly repatriation flights for Belizean nationals abroad will continue; this includes the 14-day mandatory quarantine and health screening upon arrival.
Cayman Islands postpones their September 1st reopening date to October
The Cayman Islands Government has announced 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. During this time, repatriation flights by Cayman Airways will continue to operate on an ad hoc basis and the air bridge between the UK and the Cayman Islands will also remain open, as this provides a vitally important link between the two countries.
Requirements for entry in the first phase is expected to include: proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before travel; an online application that requires permission from the health authorities for the traveler to arrive; wearing of a health monitoring device upon arrival and payment of a fee for use of the device; monitored self quarantine for five days; a second COVID-19 test and, if negative, visitors can leave isolation but must continue to wear the monitor. For further information, visit www.gov.ky.
St. Kitts & Nevis now targets October for its border reopening
Thinking of a trip to St. Kitts & Nevis? You will have to wait until October 2020 which is when the government there says it will reopen its border. However, the one major caveat is that it looks like a two-week quarantine will be required. The following information pertains to citizens and “incoming travelers,” for now. Formal rules for tourism will be announced in the coming weeks, but it could be similar to what’s on tap for repatriation. A representative for St Kitts and Nevis says, “The regulations that will be in place for incoming visitors once borders reopen in October have yet to be announced.”
St. Kitts and Nevis has been very lucky with just 17 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and zero deaths.
When will Anguilla reopen to tourists? Officials postpone, and now say October
Anguilla’s borders will be closed to most commercial travelers until at least Oct. 31, due to “the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation globally, particularly the significant increase in cases in the Americas,” according to a statement from Gov. Tim Foy and Premier Dr. Ellis Webster. The original border reopening for all travelers had been set for July 30. Currently, there are no active or suspected cases of COVID-19 on the island.
Certain categories are exempt from these regulations as of July 31, including medical emergencies and evacuations with the approval of the chief medical officer; people wishing to leave Anguilla; repatriation of Anguillians from countries with active cases of less than 0.2% of the population and visitors from countries with active cases of less than 0.2% of the population, who must comply with protocols and quarantine rules. Information on Anguilla’s protocols can be found at www.beatcovid19.ai.
Guadeloupe remains closed to Americans
Although Guadeloupe reopened to travelers from France in early June and from other EU countries and elsewhere on July 1, a travel ban for U.S. visitors remains in effect due to the surge of Covid-19 cases. Guadeloupe re-evaluates this travel ban every two weeks. All travelers must present proof of a negative Covid test taken 72 hours before departure or be tested at the airport upon arrival with results within 48 hours. The cost of the test if done in Guadeloupe is US$95. Mask-wearing is mandatory in the airport and in public spaces on the island.
Puerto Rico postpones inbound tourism reopening
Puerto Rico, which was originally slated to welcome tourists again on July 15, has postponed its reopening to inbound tourism; “in order to safeguard visitors and residents”, as shared by officials. Puerto Rico has not announced a new reopening date. For now, only essential travel is being encouraged. “A continuous assessment of the situation in Puerto Rico and in the United States will influence Island-wide orders that prioritize health and safety,” Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, told Travel Market Report.
Strict measures are in place such as an Island-wide curfew from 10:00 pm – 5:00 am until July 31, closure of most non-essential businesses, and limited access to public beaches. When planning a future trip to Puerto Rico, travelers must fill out a Travel Declaration Form through the Puerto Rico Health Department’s online portal, get a molecular COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to visiting the Island and show proof of a negative result or they must quarantine.
St. Maarten pushes back on American tourists for a second time
Flights to and from St. Maarten from the U.S. have been pushed back a second time and are now tentatively scheduled for August 1. However, there has been no confirmation at the time of writing. For other countries, strict health protocols for entry remain in place, including proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of travel, thermal temperature checks, and mandatory mask-wearing in the airport and in public places on the island. American tourists will not be allowed to cross the border from Dutch Sint Maarten to French Saint Martin from August 1, according to The Daily Herald, a Philipsburg, Sint Maarten newspaper. The report says the announcement is until further notice.
The Bahamas announces a total lockdown after imported cases spike
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis Monday night (Aug 3) announced a “complete national lockdown” of every island in The Bahamas for at least the next two weeks after the country recorded a significant spike in the number of cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19). In a nationwide radio and television broadcast, Minnis said that acting on the advice of health experts “I am announcing today a national lockdown for the entire country commencing tomorrow, Tuesday, August 4th at 10:00 pm (local time)”. The Bahamas saw 571 additional cases since July 8, after reopening its borders on July 1. With COVID-19 cases surging and ICU beds scarce, The Bahamas will go into a two-week lockdown before reassessing.