As we all know, COVID-19 has taken a toll on the travel industry here in the United States and all across the world. But for small islands like those in the Caribbean region, it has had an even greater toll because their economies rely so heavily on tourism.
With a drop in the number of tourists visiting the islands, many businesses such as hotels, restaurants and craft market vendors, to name a few, are either closed or barely surviving. Just like in the United States, unemployment in the Caribbean is also on the increase. Caribbean leaders are extremely concerned about the fallout from COVID since the foundation of their economies is being ripped away.
Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. Caribbean Community (CARICOM) chairman and prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, spoke about how Caribbean countries are experiencing fallout from COVID-19 at an Economic Summit organized by the Central Bank of Barbados. “We are having contraction of a very deep kind because most of these economies are tourism dependent. We are having therefore a lot of layoffs, we are having falling government revenues,” he said, according to the Barbados Today website.
According to National Geographic, over 31.5 million tourists vacationed in the Caribbean in 2019; however, only half that number is forecast for 2020. That is a huge drop in revenue. But Caribbean tourist boards remain optimistic as governments have decided to “cautiously” reopen their borders with new regulations in place.
CARICOM has provided guidelines for the establishment of a regional “travel bubble” among the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) countries which includes Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Montserrat, Anguilla and British Virgin Islands, together with Barbados.
“Persons traveling to Antigua and Barbuda from countries within the established Travel Bubble must have resided there for no less than fourteen (14) consecutive days prior to travel. They are required to have a negative COVID 19 RT-PCR test result, a rapid molecular test taken within seven (7) days of their flight. They will undergo mandatory health screening upon arrival but will not be subject to quarantine. All other arriving passengers are subject to quarantine as determined by the Quarantine Authority,” the guidelines say.
Anyone who plans to visit the island of Anguilla, for instance, must complete an application at ivisitanguilla.com/escape/apply. If your application is approved an electronic travel authorization certificate will be sent to your email address. Upon arrival in Anguilla the visitor must show a negative COVID-19 test result that is less than five days old. In addition, if the visitor’s country of origin is considered low risk, the visitor must quarantine for 10 days. Persons travelling from high-risk countries have a 14-day quarantine requirement. If the visitor is a short-term business traveler, there is no quarantine. Quarantine facilities include government-approved facilities or designated hotels.
here is a list of Caribbean islands and regions that you can travel to as of Dec. 4, along with the guidelines for entry, according to wimco.com. The updates are based on government announcements.
St. Barths — PCR or Antigen tests required for entry, within last 3 full days, no portal upload required, no quarantine required.
Turks & Caicos — PCR test required, within last 5 full days, portal upload required, no quarantine required.
British Virgin Islands — PCR test required, with last 5 full days, portal upload required, 4 day quarantine in your villa or hotel , then second test required.
U.S. Virgin Islands — PCR test required, within last 5 full days, portal upload required, no quarantine required.
St Martin/Sint Maarten — PCR or Antigen tests required, within last 5 full days, portal upload required, no quarantine required.
Anguilla — PCR test required for entry, within the last 5 full days, portal upload required, quarantine in your villa or hotel for 10 days, with select excursions and activities allowed if requested first.
Bahamas and associated private islands there — PCR test required for entry, within the last 5 full days, portal upload required, no quarantine, however second rapid test required after 4 days.
Jamaica — PCR or Antigen tests required for entry, within last 10 days, portal upload required, no quarantine required.
Barbados — PCR test required for entry, within the last 3 full days, portal upload required, quarantine in your villa or hotel until results from second test are received (within 24-48 hours).
Antigua & Barbuda — PCR test required for entry, with last 7 full days, no portal, 14 day quarantine in place and second test required.
Grand Cayman — PCR test required for entry, with last 5 full days, portal upload required, 14 day quarantine and second test required.
St Kits and Nevis — PCR test required for entry, with last 3 full days, no portal, 7 day quarantine and second test required.
If you are adventurous and want to take advantage of some great airline fares and hotel packages that will put you on the beaches of the Caribbean, rest assured that the Caribbean islands have the virus under control. They have slowed the spread and the number of positive cases is in the hundreds, not hundreds of thousands (like here in the United States).
Follow the requirements and you will be sitting by the pool sipping daquiris and pina coladas while basking in the sunlight and enjoying the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. What could be more therapeutic than that?