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Island Update: COVID-19, Hurricanes and Your Travel PlansIsland Update COVID19 Hurricanes and Your Travel Plans

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting countries across the globe, and the Bahamas and Caribbean are no exception. 
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These countries all closed their borders and put Stay At Home orders in place very quickly to limit the spread of the virus and in doing so have been able to keep the rate of positive cases incredibly low.  When you’re ready to travel, consider visiting the Bahamas and Caribbean where tourism makes up more than half of the workforce and is one of the most tourism-driven areas of the world.

Beginning Phases of Reopening

Many of the countries are in the beginning phases of reopening and are preparing to accept visitors. Some have even already started to accept visitors with strict protocols in place. Each country has a different timeline of reopening and different protocol for travelers to follow. To find out more about what travel protocols look like for the countries you’re interested in visiting soon, please click on the link below the country’s summary.

Anguilla – Tentatively July 1st

Anguilla has lifted all local restrictions but has not opened the borders. Anguilla reported only three total COVID-19 cases with zero deaths at the end of April. As of June 4th there are still no new or suspected cases. https://beatcovid19.ai/covid-19-dashboard-update/

Antigua & Barbuda – June 1st

International travelers are officially welcomed back to Antigua & Barbuda with a few protocols that must be followed:

  • All travelers must wear a mask in all public areas throughout their stay.
  • All travelers must complete a health declaration form and are subject to screening/temperature checks upon arrival.
  • All travelers are suggested to present a valid medical certificate showing a negative result COVID-19 test completed within 48 hours prior to arriving in the country.
  • Travelers that do not provide a medical certificate showing a negative result COVID-19 test will be allowed entry into the country under the condition that they will quarantine at their accommodation property.*

*Travelers without a medical certificate providing current negative COVID-19 results have the option of paying for a local test from an approved facility. This must be done within 48 hours of arrival. After negative test results come in for all guests traveling together, the accommodation quarantine will end. https://ab.gov.ag/detail_page.php?page=42

Aruba – Between June 15th and July 1st

Aruba’s borders are anticipated to reopen between June 15th and July 1st. All businesses and establishments must close by 10:00 p.m. daily with the exemption of 24-hour pharmacies. In addition, a curfew is in place between 12:00 a.m.-5:00 a.m. daily that applies to both locals and international travelers. Currently bars, nightclubs, casinos, spas and massage parlors are not approved to open yet. https://www.visitaruba.com/news/general/corona-virus-and-travel-to-aruba/

Bahamas – July 1st

The Family Islands are cleared to operate more freely in Phase 1B-2 of The Bahamas’ 5-step plan. Bahamian residents currently outside of the country are being accepted back to the Bahamas under certain conditions. The Bahamas is set to reopen the borders on July 1st if safety protocols can be managed. https://www.bahamas.com/covid19statement

Barbados – June 1st

Barbados’s border has been open to international travelers for a short time already with a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all travelers. As of June 1st, most businesses and establishments are now reopened as long as the businesses can strictly adhere to the multiple protocols that have been established. Beaches are now open from 5:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., no picnicking allowed. There is a curfew still in place for both locals and international travelers: Monday-Thursday from 10:00 p.m.-5:00 a.m., Friday-Sunday from 8:00 p.m.-5:00 a.m. https://www.visitbarbados.org/travel-guidelines-2020

British Virgin Islands – Until Further Notice

The British Virgin Islands borders do not have a set date to reopen yet, although they are making progress towards that goal. The curfew has been reduced to 7:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. daily. The beaches are open from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. Hotels can reopen once they have been inspected and certified by the local Environmental Health Division to ensure social distancing and proper hygiene protocols are being practiced. http://bvi.gov.vg/statements

Cayman Islands – Tentatively September 1st

Airports and ports are closed to all international travel until at least September 1st. The Cayman Islands have reduced their hard 24-hour curfew on June 1st to a soft curfew from 4:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. with a hard curfew 8:00 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. https://www.exploregov.ky/government-covid19-policies

Cuba – July 1st

Some airlines have already started booking for July flights into Havana. Face masks are mandatory in public places. https://salud.msp.gob.cu/?lang=en

Dominica – June

Dominica doesn't have an exact date to reopen the borders to international travel, though the government is planning for early June. Dominica has reduced their curfew to 8:00 p.m. through 5:00 a.m. Monday-Friday, 6:00 p.m. through 5:00 a.m. for the weekends. Reopening schools, gyms, dine-in restaurants and churches is still in the discussion phase as of their May 29th update. http://dominicaupdate.com/

Dominican Republic – July 1st

The Dominican Republic started its de-escalation process on May 20th with resuming public transportation at 30% capacity. As of June 3rd, the country has allowed the reopening of shopping centers and private transportation companies. As for July 1st, hotels, restaurants and gyms will be reopening along with the airports and borders. https://www.godominicanrepublic.com/newsroom/coronavirus/

Grenada – Until Further Notice

Grenada is currently still closed through at least June 9th. Grenada has not started deescalating protocol yet. Please check back at the link below for current regulations and protocol. https://www.gov.gd/news

Guadeloupe – Until Further Notice

Guadeloupe is in the second phase of reopening which includes the reopening of schools, parks, restaurants and bars. Groups are still to not exceed a maximum of 10 people. Teleworking is still preferred If able. Wearing a mask is highly suggested but not required. Social establishments, such as night clubs and large audience sporting events, continue to be prohibited. Guadeloupe is planning to move on to the next phase of de-escalation by June 22nd which may include reopening the borders to international travelers. Check under News for most recent updates: http://www.guadeloupe.gouv.fr/Politiques-publiques/Risques-naturels-technologiques-et-sanitaires/Securite-sanitaire/Informations-coronavirus/Les-circulaires-et-arretes-ministeriels

Haiti – Until Further Notice

Haiti has no plans to reopen the borders as they are still dealing with current COVID-19 cases. The Haitian government continued the previous state of emergency May 15th to extend for another 60 days. https://haitiantimes.com/

Jamaica – June 15th

Jamaica is excited to welcome international travelers back on June 15th. They have developed 110-pages of protocols but that has not been found on any of the government websites yet. Stand by for what will be expected of international travelers in the coming weeks. https://www.mot.gov.jm/

Martinique – Until Further Notice

The airport on Martinique is closed until further notice. Martinique is in its second phase of de-escalation, allowing the reopening of schools, restaurants and bars, casinos with a soft opening, beaches, theaters, museums and zoos. Masks are still mandatory in a public setting and only groups of 10 people maximum are allowed congregate together. http://www.martinique.gouv.fr/Politiques-publiques/Environnement-sante-publique/Sante/Informations-COVID-19

St. Barths – Until Further Notice

There isn’t an official date for the reopening of the St. Barths borders yet but vacation rental sites are accepting July reservations. St. Barths is accepting visitors from other French Antilles islands but not international travelers yet. For updates, check the site below. http://www.comstbarth.fr/

St. Kitts & Nevis – Until Further Notice

The airports are still closed with no official reopening date. These regulations are in place until June 13th. A curfew is still in place from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. during the week, 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Working remotely is encouraged. Masks must always be worn in public settings.

St. Lucia – June 4th

St. Lucia is just starting to open this week. https://www.stlucia.org/en/covid-19/

St. Maarten – Until Further Notice

The St. Maarten airport is closed to incoming international travel until further notice. There are good signs of reopening happening soon, though. Most businesses can reopen as of May 30th and the current curfew for businesses is 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. http://www.sintmaartengov.org/government/VSA/Health-Updates/NOVELCORONAVIRUS/Pages/default.aspx

St. Vincent & The Grenadines –

St. Vincent & The Grenadines is accepting international travelers with the following protocols: http://www.gov.vc/

Trinidad & Tobago – Until Further Notice

The airports on Trinidad & Tobago are still closed to international travelers but restrictions are starting to ease up. The government has released guidelines to reopening which allows businesses to reopen once they meet certain standards. Wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing is still mandatory. http://www.health.gov.tt/sitepages/default.aspx?id=297

Turks & Caicos – July 22nd

The Turks & Caicos recently pushed thier date back from June 1st to July 22nd to reopen airports, even with no currently active cases of COVID-19. Curfew is in place from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. daily. All non-essential businesses are closed until July 6thhttps://www.visittci.com/travel-info/turks-and-caicos-coronavirus-covid-19

US Virgin Islands – June 1st

The airports are open! Here are the protocols that must be followed:

  • Accommodations must be certified by the Ministry of Health.
  • International travelers are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result certificate 48 hours prior to boarding the plane.
  • Masks must be worn by all international travelers and physically distance while on the island.
  • International travelers are all subject to screening and temperature checks by Health Authorities.
  • Taxi protocols are being established still.
  • All international travelers must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival
  • All international travelers must wear gloves and masks, and practice physical distancing.
  • All travelers must wear a facial covering upon arrival to USVI.
  • All travelers are subject to health and temperature screenings.
  • Travelers that do not pass the health and temperature screenings are subject to quarantining at their accommodation until the Epidemiology Team has tested for COVID-19 within 24 hours of screenings.

www.usviupdate.com

 

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Hurricane Season

Hurricane season officially began June 1st and runs through November 30th. After an awful hurricane year for the Bahamas last year, the Bahamas and Caribbean are bracing once again for strong storms and bad weather.

Many of the islands were incredibly resilient. Grand Bahama bounced back and recovered quickly after the eye of Hurricane Dorian sat right over Freeport at an almost standstill. Grand Bahama International was open by the beginning of December 2019 as well as much of the rest of the island.

Meanwhile, Central and South Abaco are still recovering Nearly every structure in those towns and cays were leveled by Hurricane Dorian. The airports were up and running for emergency use only within a few days, and open for public use by December 2019. Curious about when you’ll be able to return? As far as tourism goes, these areas are slowly becoming what they once were. We look forward to sipping drinks with our toes in the sand again soon on Abaco! Keep #AbacoStrong and follow your favorite hotels, resorts and bars on social media for updates on their progress.

As always, you can keep up with updates to the islands on the AOPA website and on Universal Weather & Aviation, Inc. 

This post is brought to you by the AOPA Pilot Guides, the most trusted source of flight planning information for pilots who love to fly the islands.

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