Friday 30 October, 2020

Things to know before you travel to Caribbean countries

Caribbean countries are slowly re-opening as COVID-19 cases are contained in most places.

While many have re-opened borders to returning nationals, a few are welcoming international travellers in an effort to jumpstart their tourism industries.

If you are a Caribbean resident or a foreign visitor who is anxious to travel around or to the region, you need to be prepared. With COVID-19 there will be new protocols to safeguard the health of residents and guests. Please note that travellers must ensure they know the requirements to travel in their own countries and those of the countries they intend to travel to.

Here are some things you need to consider before heading to the Caribbean.

Wear a mask

If you plan to travel to or within the region, have your mask handy. Many airlines are enforcing no mask, no entry policies. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, and United Airlines, all of whom fly to the Caribbean, are among those that will be vigorously enforcing the mask policies so before you embark you must have your mask. Regional carrier Caribbean Airlines also requires the wearing of masks before embarking on their flights. Destinations that are open such as Antigua and Barbuda and Aruba require all visitors to wear masks upon arrival and while they go about their visit.

Get tested

Some destinations such as Saint Lucia, Aruba, The Bahamas and Bermuda are requiring travellers to show a negative COVID-19 test result before travelling. Others may require you to take a test once you land. Expect to have your temperature screened at most airports.

Prepare to be quarantined

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In St Vincent and the Grenadines, up until June 22, all persons arriving from the following countries are required to self-quarantine for 14 days: United States, United Kingdom, EU member countries, Iran, China, South Korea, Italy, Hong Kong and Macau. Persons arriving from countries not listed will be allowed entry so long as no symptoms are exhibited. In other islands, if the temperature check registers you as having a temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit you will be placed in quarantine.

Barbados has made quarantine at a state-run facility or select hotel for persons from hot spots as it relates to COVID-19 cases. Persons from low-risk countries can home quarantine.

Expect limited accommodation

In the first phase of reopening do not expect all hotels across the Caribbean to be open. St Lucia says 1,500 rooms will be available initially while in Antigua and Barbuda only four hotels will be open in the first phase. Check your favourite hotel brand for reopening dates.

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Sandals Barbados is already working out staffing, protocols and logistics for their reopening.

Walk with a pen

Be prepared to fill out questionnaires and health forms upon arrival to many islands. These are to help authorities keep track of your whereabouts prior to your arrival and your health circumstances.

Also, if you walk with your own pen you remove at least one point of contact on your journey to your destination.

To keep up to date with what each Caribbean country requires from travellers, follow the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association's tracker.

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