When will the Caribbean reopen?
Information from Travel Weekly
Over the next few weeks several Caribbean islands plan to cautiously reopen for international tourism. There will be new requirement, health protocols and procedures that will need to be followed. Some islands will require travelers to produce proof of a negative COVID test result administered within 48 hours of their travel.
Here are the latest developments across the region:
Antigua and Barbuda: V.C. Bird Airport reopened June 4, and American began a daily flight from Miami on the same day. Arriving passengers must complete a health declaration form as part of the screening process and submit proof of a negative virus test taken 48 hours before boarding. Face masks are required in public.
• Aruba: The country's border and airport reopening is tentatively scheduled between June 15 and July 1.
• Bahamas: The country will reopen its borders, airports and seaports on July 1, according to the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation. Extensive health and safety protocols, part of a new Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan, will be enforced to mitigate risks for all visitors and residents, according to Joy Jibrilu, director general.
Hotels will reopen on June 15 for staff to return to work and put in place measures required for the arrival of guests on July 1 when commercial airlines, both international and domestic, are expected to begin limited operations. Face masks will be required in public, and temperature screenings will be conducted daily.
• Barbados: The airport is closed to international flights through June 30. No timeline has been announced for the country's reopening. The cruise port is closed until further notice.
• Cayman Islands: The borders, airports and seaports on Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are closed till Sept. 1, according to tourism minister Moses Kirkconnell. A curfew remains in effect on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac from 10 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. The curfew has been lifted on Little Cayman.
• Dominican Republic: International airports throughout the country are closed to commercial traffic to July 1, according to the Dominican Institute of Civil Aviation.
• Grenada: The government is working toward June 30 as the possible date for the reopening of the country's borders, according to Patricia Maher, CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority.
"The national Covid task force, the tourism subcommittee and the Ministry for Tourism and Aviation are working with stakeholders to prepare for the reopening," Maher said. "Protocols are being implemented across the tourism subsectors for the health and safety of residents and visitors."
• Jamaica: Borders will reopen to international travelers on June 15. The Ministry of Health & Wellness will work in collaboration with the Airports Authority of Jamaica regarding screenings of arriving passengers. Tourists will undergo voluntary Covid tests but no quarantine.
Screenings will include electronic thermal scans. Face masks and social distancing in public spaces will be required of all persons, including visitors. This includes points of entry, ground transportation and accommodation facilities.
Within the next two weeks, Jamaica will review whether to reopen public beaches, water attractions and amusement parks.
The health and safety protocols run to more than 100 pages, and "are perhaps the most rigorous set available anywhere in the world to protect our workers and the whole country," said Edmund Bartlett, minister of tourism.
While not all airlines have announced their schedules, it is expected that most of the major airlines will begin with limited service and will ramp up in the coming months, according to Bartlett.
• Puerto Rico: All commercial flights now use Luis Munoz Marin Airport in San Juan. The Puerto Rico National Guard is assisting with enhanced health screenings of arriving passengers, including the Rapid Covid-19 test. Arriving passengers may be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days, regardless of symptoms. Face masks are required in public. A curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. is in effect until June 15.
Restaurants are operating with a maximum occupancy of 25%, and temperature checks are performed before entering. Attractions remain closed except for many of Puerto Rico's 18 golf courses. Casinos have not reopened.
• St. Lucia: Hewanorra Airport reopened on June 4 in phase one of the country's reopening plan, meaning that the borders are now open to all international carriers and to visitors carrying all passports.
The first flights are scheduled to resume in early July with American's daily flight from Miami on July 7. Delta is posting early July departures from Atlanta and JetBlue from JFK.
St. Lucia requires proof of a Covid-free test prior to travel; temperature checks are taken upon arrival; visitors must wear face masks in public from arrival through departure, including during the hotel stay.
A list of hotels that have met the new Covid-19 certification process will be announced shortly. Hotels must meet more than a dozen criteria for sanitization, social distancing and other protocols before they can reopen to guests. Any arrivals not booked into a certified property are required to go into a 14-day quarantine.
In phase one, which runs to July 31, no sites or attractions are open, although some shops are. A number of restaurants are open for delivery and takeout services, but none offer seated service.
Phase two runs from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30, and phase three begins on Oct. 1.
• St. Maarten: July 1 is the earliest date that St. Maarten can reopen its airport, according to Lumila de Weever, minister of tourism. The tentative reopening date is dependent upon whether the island holds steady with no new Covid cases. The third phase of the reopening plan took effect June 1 and includes bars, dine-in restaurants with limited seating, hair salons, souvenir shops and retail stores. All remaining businesses are scheduled to reopen on June 15.
• Turks and Caicos: Borders, Providenciales Airport and private jet terminals will reopen on July 22. The Grand Turk Cruise Center will remain closed until Aug. 31.
Airline partners have confirmed flight service will resume from the U.S., Canada and Europe "as soon as the destination is ready," according to Pamela Ewing, director of tourism for the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board.
Hotels, resorts, villas, restaurants and tour operators are finalizing protocols prior to reopening.
• U.S. Virgin Islands: The territory reopened to visitors on June 1. New health and safety protocols for all tourism stakeholders have been rolled out in conjunction with the Department of Health and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.