Sunday 29 November, 2020

No masks required in Anguilla: Phase 2 of reopening all set

Anguilla goes into Phase 2 of reopening from November 1. The island is COVID-19 free.

Anguilla goes into Phase 2 of reopening from November 1. The island is COVID-19 free.

Visitors to Anguilla can move around mask-free when the island goes into its second phase of reopening.

That phase, which will be implemented on November 1, will see hotels, resorts and villas across the island added into the approved and certified accommodations mix for visitors to the island. 

Anguilla currently has no active cases of COVID-19. The island, the only one to hold its Carnival in August, had a total of three cases to date. 

Hadyn Hughes, Minister of Tourism, said as such the wearing of masks in public is not mandatory on the island. He reassured, however, that the island has a surplus of masks in the event that they are needed. 

Hughes said they have been very prudent in how they have managed the presence of visitors to the island. 

Speaking to the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) on Tuesday, he said visitors are categorised by High Prevalence and Low Prevalence areas based on the spread of the virus in their countries of origin. 

All visitors to Anguilla must submit a negative PCR test taken within three to five days of their arrival, and upon arrival another test will be administered. 

Hughes said results from that test will be delivered within an hour. Tests cost USD $100 and can be paid for when bookings are made with the hotels. 

For those who are visiting from High Prevalence areas for up to 14 days, they will have to vacation in place. However, said Hughes, since Anguilla does not have All-Inclusive Resorts, certified service providers could be used to enjoy activities off-site. Those from Low-Prevalence countries staying longer than 10 days are free to move around once they are cleared after day 10.

Everything, Hughes said, is carefully managed.

"If you come to Anguilla and stay at one of our properties you can play golf, you can still leave the property, not on your own but through certified ground transportation and you must ensure those bookings are done. ..everything is controlled, it isn't just that you call a taxi, jump in a taxi and going over to the golf course, going on a boat, going over to Scilly Cay or Sandy Island, everything is controlled, everything is by bookings, everything is managed," he said.  

He said hotel facilities are available through appointments and each hotel has a quarantine facility for those visitors who test positive while on the island. 

Addressing passengers who have to transit through Sint Maarten, San Juan, St Kitts and Nevis or Antigua, Hughes said if the first port of entry requires a negative PCR test and you don't leave the airport before you arrive to Anguilla, you do not need to show proof of a negative test. You will, however, be tested again once you arrive on the island. This applies to passengers arriving by sea as well.

Hughes said while they are late in the reopening process one of the lessons they learnt is not to be too desperate to open.

"And even when you are opening you must be vigilant, you must be careful in doing so. We have seen some of the protocols other countries are using and we have been looking at it and saying hmm this is risky. We have also seen some countries that have open and closed. We don't want to be that, we want to ensure we do this carefully and meticulously, we want to ensure everybody is on the same page," he said. 

He said a tourism sensitisation programme with all service providers will be held to ensure everyone is COVID ready.

He said: "We are late in the game but that is by design."

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