Caribbean travel: the latest islands to reopen
The idyllic islands of the Caribbean have been off-limits to international visitors for months, but gradually more countries are beginning to reopen their borders. Most islands are initially opening to US travelers and naturally there will be measures in place to keep visitors safe; expect to wear face masks, go through health screenings and practice social distancing.
Speaking to USA Today, Frank Comito, CEO and director general of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, said: “Thus far, the region has effectively minimized the spread of COVID-19. Health and safety protocols are being put in place, mirroring the international standards which have been recommended and adding more stringent measures to help build traveler confidence; there’s every reason to believe we will be resilient once again.”
So when exactly can you travel to the Caribbean? Some islands have already reopened their borders, while others are taking a more tentative approach. We’ve put together an island-by-island summary.
Islands soon to reopen to US visitors:
Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, has said that borders will open to international travelers on June 15. Health screenings will be in place on arrival into the country and face masks must be worn at the airport, in hotels and on taxi journeys. Most hotels are set to open in July.
Aruba has plans to open its borders to international visitors later this month, although the exact date has yet to be confirmed by the government and may be delayed if strict hygiene criteria is not met. There will be temperature checks at the airport and Plexiglas barriers at hotels. A programme put in place by the Aruba Tourism Authority and Department of Public Health also means that all hotels, taxis and restaurants must earn an Aruba Health & Happiness Code gold certification seal.
A tentative reopening date of June 30 has been put forward by the Grenada Tourism Authority, although some hotels won’t open their doors until much later in the year. The government is working on a number of health and safety regulations to protect residents and visitors.
The Bahamas is set to reopen on July 01. Temperature checks will be in place at the airport and face masks must be worn at the airport and in taxis. Social distancing measures – such as set distances between loungers – will be in place on beaches.
Sint Maarten & St Martin
July 01 also marks the reopening of Sint Maarten and St Martin. Both sides of this dual-nation island will have strict hygiene and social distancing measures in place.
Turks & Caicos
The Turks & Caicos islands will reopen on July 22. Private jet terminals will also open on this date. The popular duty-free cruise port complex, Grand Turk Cruise Center, will stay closed until August 31.
The British territory of Anguilla has yet to announce its reopening date.
Islands already open to US visitors:
A four-phase plan saw Puerto Rico open to visitors on May 26. Screening is in place on arrival at the airport and travelers might be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Beaches, pools, restaurants and shops are open, with limited capacity.
US Virgin Islands
The popular US Virgin Islands reopened to leisure travelers on June 01. Thermal imaging screening is in place on arrival at most airports and masks must be worn in hotels, restaurants and taxis. Most – but not all – hotels are open, though with changes in place to allow for socially-distanced drinking and dining.
Saint Lucia reopened its borders to US visitors on June 04. Travelers must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test and face masks need to be worn on arrival. Hotels are slowly reopening, with a phased approach until October. To open, hotels need a COVID-19 certificate to prove that they meet the government’s strict sanitization criteria.
Antigua also reopened on June 04. Airport protocol includes health declaration forms, screenings and thermal checks. Face masks must be worn in public – the only exception is on beaches. As in Saint Lucia, hotels will gradually reopen over the coming months.
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