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Saturday, June 20, is the summer solstice and the start of the new season. A lot of us have been cramped indoors, suffering from cabin fever, baking banana bread for days, talking to plants, and, of course, rewatching our favorite destination movies to cure the travel bug. Thankfully, you’re not the only one eager to get your travel back on.
Many Caribbean Islands have been proactive in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, opting to shelter in place and establish hard curfews early on. Their efforts have paid off as the region has been successful in keeping their confirmed cases relatively low with some islands currently reporting no new cases.
As tourism was closed, many players in the travel industry put together new safety guidelines to keep locals and future travelers safe. This includes heightened hygiene standards and the implementation and requirement of new sanitation certifications, as well as hand sanitizer stations and COVID-19 testing in airports.
I don’t know about you, but quarantining for 14 days is not my idea of a good time, so any Caribbean countries that have that kind of reopening protocol in place are not on this list. This was curated in order for you to have the most enjoyable tourism experience possible considering the new normal in the travel industry.
So, without further ado, here’s a list of some of the Caribbean countries set to reopen for international travel via air this summer.
9 Caribbean Countries Reopening For Travel This Summer
Confirmed cases: 71
The United States Virgin Islands reopened to leisure travelers on June 1, 2020.
Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte recently announced that the region was finalizing public health and tourism protocols to welcome the return of visitors to “America’s paradise”.
Tourism and government officials are counting on collaboration within the community and tourists in an effort to keep new coronavirus cases at a minimum and ensure the public’s safety.
Health screenings are being performed at the airport for arrivals according to their website. They encourage social distancing in public areas including physical distancing at restaurants and bars and have a “no mask, no service” policy in effect.
A state of emergency is in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will remain effective until July 11, 2020.
Confirmed cases: 25
The islands of Antigua & Barbuda reopened for their first commercial flights on June 4, 2020.
The Government of Antigua & Barbuda is taking a phased and controlled approach to reopening the islands for international and regional travelers.
A number of travel safety protocols are being put into place to ensure public safety, including wearing a mask in public areas and not offering buffet options at restaurants.
“The health and safety of our residents and our visitors will always be our top priority. Despite the severe economic strain on our economy resulting from the closure of our tourism industry, we waited until we were in a position to reassure both our citizens and our prospective guests that every precaution is being taken to ensure a safe and enjoyable vacation experience. The travel safety protocols have been developed under the guidance of the Ministry of Health, with the full support and cooperation of our stakeholders.”Hon. Charles “Max” Fernandez, Minister of Tourism & Investment.
All incoming travelers will have to fill out a health declaration form and will be subject to screenings and thermal checks. The press release mentions that some travelers may need to take a coronavirus test upon arrival though testing is at the discretion of airport health officials.
Confirmed cases: 19
St. Lucia reopened to international air travelers for Phase One of the responsible reopening plan on June 4, 2020.
St. Lucia has entry requirements, including proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 48 hours of boarding your flight, and must be confirmed at COVID-19 certified accommodation properties.
The island is taking a number of measures to ensure travelers will be safe, including having all properties meet specific sanitization and distancing standards to receive COVID-19 Certification for reopening and running simulations to make sure visitors and locals alike are safe and have an enjoyable visitor experience.
Population: 2.9 million
Confirmed cases: 599
Jamaica is currently open for travel for Jamaican nationals but will be reopening to all travelers on June 15, 2020.
During a virtual press meeting on June 4, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Honorary Edmund Bartlett, provided updates on safety measures and protocols that are being put in place to ensure a sound tourist experience and traveler safety as they reopen for international tourists soon.
Anyone entering Jamaica starting on the 15th will need to have health screenings and temperature checks upon arrival at the airport.
Employees in the tourism sector have undergone training to track how the protocols are working and report any new behavioral patterns that may emerge in tourists.
There are eight sub-sectors of the tourism industry that are included in these protocol guidelines: attractions, beaches, cruise ports, guesthouses, hotels, shopping, social activities (bars and restaurants), and transportation.
Confirmed cases: 101
Aruba is slated for a tentative reopening for travelers from Canada on July 1, 2020, and the United States on July 10, 2020.
The Aruba Government recently announced a plan to reopen its borders for international travel, though their reopening date is subject to change, for now, hence the asterisk.
If you have a flight booked to go to Aruba anytime soon, you’ll definitely want to keep tabs on their website to stay up to date on any changes that may come.
In hopes of curing your wanderlust, or at least keeping the symptoms at bay, the Aruba Tourism Authority created a happiness video featuring beautiful sights and sounds unique to the island.
On July 19, the Bahamas announced they are no longer accepting travelers by air from the United States until further notice.
Confirmed cases: 103
The Bahamas recently announced that the islands will be reopening for commercial travel on July 1, 2020. American Airlines also announced that they’ll be resuming international travel to Exuma and Nassau beginning July 7, 2020. The Bahamas Prime Minister, The Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis, and Ministry is urging locals and travelers alike to be responsible and adhere to travel guidelines and The Bahamas’ “Healthy Traveler Campaign” that encourages tourists and locals alike to practice proper sanitation measures, social distancing, and pack appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment).
“We must be responsible and I say to the Bahamian people that your future, our future, is in their hands and it depends on the disciplinary action and the responsibility and the way they act moving forward. The future of The Bahamas is in the hands of the people.”Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis, Bahamas Prime Minister
Anyone traveling domestically within the islands will need to complete a Travel Health Card application prior to departure for contact tracing purposes. The application can be found here. Be sure to check whether or not hotels are open on certain islands. While July 1 is the tentative reopen date, many hotels in Nassau plan to reopen on that date, while some hotels on other islands like Grand Bahama are closed to international travelers until further notice. Hotels opening in Nassau include The Ocean Club (A Four Seasons Resort), Meliá Nassau Beach, Atlantis, Paradise Island, Baha Mar, and Sandals Royal Bahamian.
Population: 10.6 million
Confirmed cases: 20,129
The Dominican Republic recently announced that they will be enacting stage 4 of their COVID-19 de-escalation process, reopening the region for travel effective July 1, 2020.
Stage 4 activates the Dominican Republic’s tourism industry, meaning airports, hotels, gyms, and restaurants will all be allowed to reopen.
The Association of Hotels and Tourism of Dominican Republic (ASONAHORES) has used recommendations from the country’s Ministry of Health to create hygiene and sanitation protocols to ensure the safety of travelers. Hand sanitizer stations are being made available for visitors and employees alike at hotels and resorts.
Frequent handwashing and keeping a distance from people who have symptoms of COVID-19 or any respiratory illness is highly encouraged when in the Dominican Republic.
Confirmed cases: 12
Turks & Caicos Islands will reopen to the public for international travel on July 22, 2020.
Providenciales Airport was originally slated to reopen on the 1st of June but now has a new opening date. Turks & Caicos Islands currently has no active cases of COVID-19.
There’s currently an evening curfew in effect from 10 pm – 5 am, but the Islands plan on having the local economy completely reopened by July 6.
Essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies are open with capacity limits in place should there be crowds, though their website says crowding hasn’t been much of a problem.
Nonetheless, the virus hasn’t gone away (no matter where you go really), so it’s important to practice safe habits regardless, especially if you’re coming from the United States.
Confirmed cases: 171
Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman are planning on reopening for international tourism on September 1, 2020.
The Cayman Islands still have COVID-19 measures in place, including a Shelter in Place “soft” curfew in Grand Cayman and a 10 pm – 4:30 am hard curfew in both Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac.
All airports in the Cayman Islands have been closed since March 22, 2020, for international and non-essential travel and will remain that way until just the end of summer.
If you have an upcoming trip to the Cayman Islands, you’ll want to stay tuned via Instagram or their website as the reopen date isn’t set in stone.
Think of others; safety first.
I’ll wrap up by saying that the Islands deserve tremendous credit for staving off the coronavirus pandemic as they did. Travelers should be mindful of Caribbean efforts and stay home if they feel sick or have been in contact with anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 disease or any other respiratory ailment.
Also reconsider travel if you are coming from a state experiencing spikes or increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases. The sooner we think of others and make sacrifices in hopes of keeping the pandemic at bay, the sooner we can return to traveling freely in a post-COVID world.
Planning a trip soon? Don’t forget to pin it for later!