Travelling in the time of Covid
Welcome to our ongoing blog capturing all the latest Covid related travel information.
Updated: 24th June 2020
Updated: 22nd June 2020
Last updated June 15, 2020
All travellers are assessed by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and The Environment (also referred to within this document as the Quarantine Authority), for signs and symptoms through a series of checks and the completion of a health declaration form on arrival. Testing is at the discretion of the Quarantine Authority for all arrivals. The test is given at the port of arrival and takes 15 minutes. The results take approximately 48 hours to process, and travellers will be alerted of their results by health officials. Whilst travellers await results they do need to limit their movements, as instructed by the Quarantine Authority. If the test is negative, travellers may then enjoy and explore Antigua & Barbuda. If the test is positive travellers will need to go into isolation.
If I test negative what happens?
As soon as you receive a negative test result you are allowed to explore the island at your leisure. Until you receive the result you do need to enjoy the hotel facilities and beach only.
How do I get from the airport to my place of stay?
All arriving passengers are required to use the authorized certified ground transportation available outside of the V.C. Bird International Airport Arrivals Terminal. Family and friends will not be allowed to pick-up guests. This measure is in place to allow for effective contact tracing should it be required.
Which Certified accommodations are currently open for guests?
Certified accommodation currently open include: Admirals Inn – Gunpowder Suites, Antigua Village, Siboney Beach Club, Buccaneer Beach Club, Hammock Cove Resort, Heritage Hotel, Hodges Bay Resort & Spa, Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, The Catamaran Hotel, The Moxy Hotel and Tamarind Hills Villas. A number of villas are also open.
All hotels and villas that are open, have undergone inspection by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Tourism and have all been certified to re-open.
Visitors can view the Hotel Reopening Dates.
Updated: 15th June 2020
On June 15, Jamaica opens to all international travelers, while the Bahamas welcomes yachts and private flights; everyone else can join from July 1. Bermuda is opening its borders to travelers who comply with these measures on July 1. Also on the first day of July, Aruba welcomes residents of Canada, Europe and other Caribbean islands (excluding the Dominican Republic and Haiti); Americans can join on July 10.
Puerto Rico’s borders open on July 15. Travelers to Turks and Caicos will need to wait a little longer; it opens July 22.
Other islands are more commitment-phobic.Keith Mitchell, the prime minister of Grenada,posted on Facebook that the country is considering June 30 as a “possible date for reopening.” The French isle of Saint Martin indicated visitors could come as early as July 1, but nothing official has been announced.
Note: Some islands, including St. Lucia and Bermuda, are requiring negative Covid-19 tests within 48 to 72 hours before departure.
Updated: 5th June 2020
The Government of Antigua & Barbuda has announced a phased approach to the reopening of the country’s tourism and hospitality industry as they prepare to welcome the first guests back on island today. The Ministry of Health, Wellness & The Environment has determined that the country is now ready to reopen the borders to international and regional travellers, whilst utilising a phased and controlled approach. A series of travel safety protocols are being introduced which impact every element of the visitor experience, from arrivals at ports of entry, through ground transfers, resort accommodations, restaurants, tours and attractions.
A series of travel safety protocols are being introduced which impact every element of the visitor experience, from arrivals at ports of entry, through ground transfers, resort accommodations, restaurants, tours and attractions. Source: here.
Can I travel to Antigua and Barbuda??
Yes, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda will open its borders in a phased approach
beginning June 1st 2020, when the V.C. Bird International Airport will begin accepting
international traffic, and the St. John’s Harbour – Nevis Street Pier will begin the process of clearing yachts. During this period, a combination of screening, testing, monitoring and other protective measures will be in place. This strategy is intended to protect and safeguard the health of both residents and visitors to Antigua and Barbuda..
Do I need to be tested for Covid-19 before travelling to Antigua and Barbuda?
Testing is not required prior to arrival. Provisions will be in place for testing to be done
locally, at all ports of entry. Passengers arriving by air will be tested at the V.C. Bird
International Airport and those arriving by sea, will be tested on arrival within the St. John’s Harbour at the Nevis Street Pier.
What are the entry requirements for Antigua and Barbuda related to Covid-19?
Arriving passengers will be subject to a rapid and/or PCR test(s) on arrival AND will be
required to quarantine for up to 14 days at an approved facility to include approved hotels, guest houses, private residences, and private yachts.
The Ministry of Health is taking measures to reduce the risk of re-introduction of covid-19 in Antigua and Barbuda and will also be monitoring persons for signs of Covid-19 while they are in Antigua and Barbuda.
Persons travelling to Antigua and Barbuda will need to complete a health declaration form to be shared with Port Health Authorities on arrival. A Traveler Accommodation form should also be completed.
Updated: 3rd June 2020
COVID-19 in Seychelles
The Seychelles officially announced the first two cases of COVID-19 on March 14, 2020 and reached its peak on April 6, 2020 with 11 cases including the only two local transmitted cases.
Since then, the patients have made a full recovery and no other cases have been reported in the archipelago, as a result, certain restrictions have been lifted.
As of June 1, 2020 the gradual entry into the Seychelles has been introduced along with strict conditions imposed by the Public Health Authorities. Both visitors and returning residents will be subjected to these measures put into place to ensure their safety as well as that of the locals.
As the situation improves, the current measures taken and restrictions in place will be removed. Source: here.
As of 1st June 2020
- Airport opens gradually for transactions on conditions set by Department of Health.
- Application for international flights carrying passengers to be made to Public Health Commissioner (PHC). A standard form (APPLICATION FOR ENTRY INTO SEYCHELLES BY AIR AND SEA) is available on DoH website is to be completed and submitted.
- Applications will be processed on a case by case basis as per Public Health Order:
7A.(1) Where a public health emergency or the incidence of infectious disease renders it necessary to restrict or prohibit the entry into or exit of any person or class of persons from Seychelles, the Commissioner, may make orders prohibiting the entry into or exit of any person or class of persons from Seychelles within a specified period and with such restrictions or exemptions as may be specified in the order.
(5) The Commissioner, in consultation with the relevant public authorities, may issue a permit to a person or class of persons to enter into, or exit from, Seychelles within a specified period and with such restrictions or conditions as may be specified in the order.
7B.(1) Where a person returns to Seychelles after the publication of a Public Health Emergency Notice or where the incidence of infectious disease renders it necessary that person shall be required to undergo medical examination, medical surveillance or isolation or quarantine, as the case may be.
Criteria for Entry
Types of flights to be allowed:
- Private jets with passengers destined to authorized resort, yacht or residential facilities.
- Chartered passengers flights with passengers from low risk countries published by the Department of Health.
- Chartered cargo flights that may carry passengers under permission (eg patients, returning Seychellois, students who completed their studies)
Criteria for allowing entry into Seychelles
- For the month of June, private flights carrying passengers who have been given approval will be permitted.
- Chartered flights carrying passengers from approved countries may be permitted.
- All passengers must have proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test that is 48 hours or less prior to boarding the flight to Seychelles.
- Aircraft/Airline are not to board any passengers or crew who are symptomatic of COVID-19.
- Any passengers who arrives in Seychelles without this proof will be turned back on the same aircraft.
- Exit screening must have been completed by all incoming passengers and crew.
- Entry screening will be done upon arrival starting with completion of the health check form, symptomatic check, temperature scanning. The passenger may be required to undergo a rapid antigen test.
- All passengers must provide proof of accommodation in an approved establishment for the entire period of stay and must show booking vouchers at Immigration on entry.
- During the month of June, they are not to change accommodation during their stay and must not interact with the community apart from those at their place of residence.
- In order to minimize interaction between groups of clients arriving on different dates client groups should be segregated within the Establishment. The Establishments will be visited prior to re-opening to verify that this can be effected.
- For 14 days after arrival the client will be monitored daily by the designated Health and Safety officers or focal person.
- All clients must ensure strict hygiene measures and physical distancing are enforced.
- All staff must be monitored daily by the designated Health and Safety Officer or focal person and record kept.
- Any illness must be reported immediately to the nearest Health Facility who will provide appropriate guidance.
- All cost of screening and test will be borne by the passenger.
Maritime Leisure Activities
- Yacht, superyacht and leisure fishing vessels may enter Seychelles waters and must clear immigration at port Victoria and must receive clearance for any subsequent visit or disembarkation at any site or island from relevant authorities.
- Permission to disembark any crew or passengers will not be given until the vessel has spent at least 14 days at sea during which time daily temperature check should be submitted to port Health office. A COVID 19 test may be requested at the end of the 14 days
- All passengers and crew must have been screened for COVID-19 and have a recent negative PCR test (<48 hours) prior to entering Seychelles waters.
- There should be a lapse of at least 48 hours before boarding of new clients to allow thorough cleaning as per guidelines and inspection by authorities.
- Yacht and leisure crafts operators must abide by all conditions laid down by health and tourism through the guidelines issued.
Updated: 28th May 2020
Covid 19 Protocols for Caribbean hotels
I think it is true to say that this is at the forefront of every hoteliers minds – they must ensure the safety of their guests. Should you require more information for any of the hotels we feature we will of course provide for you but this is the kind of revised code of practise across the board we are seeing.
CHTA (Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association) is part of an established COVID-19 Caribbean Tourism Task Force, comprising CHTA, CARPHA, CTO and the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) – to coordinate tourism industry’s readiness and response efforts. The Task Force’s mandate is to coordinate and share information, the compilation and dissemination of support tools, provide training, and to advance best practices by companies and destinations.
Please see the official guidance here.
Action being taken by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association includes:
Advanced hygiene practices across “key touch points”
Resorts has done a research assessment of all the places that guests are in contact with from arrival to departure, ensuring that all of them are kept sanitised.
From the airport lounge, guest transfers to and from resort; guest rooms, food and beverage experiences; housekeeping and laundry; elite services, concierge; maintenance; resort activities such as water sports; elevators; swimming pools, jacuzzis and spas; team members access points; fitness centres and spa; public bathrooms; suppliers and receiving; all public areas including lobbies and beaches; back of house facilities such as store rooms and offices; Kids Clubs and waterparks, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
Resorts being inspected up to three times a day minimum for cleanliness
All the resorts will be sanitised on an ongoing basis but a “triple-check system” has also been put in place to ensure the resorts remain clean.
The inspections – which will take place at least three times daily – will include checking the cleanliness of door handles, interiors of vehicles (used for airport transfers), public toilets, kitchens, bars and restaurants which includes menus, tables, cutlery, glassware, chairs and more; and swimming pools and hot tubs.
Public toilets will also be cleaned in 20-minute intervals to ensure there is no spread of germs.
Stringent housekeeping measures including UV inspections
The resorts will also have to follow stringent housekeeping practices which include using hospital-grade disinfectants, electrical aerosol sprayers and UV-LED lighting to look at cleanliness.
Carpets will also be steam-cleaned and sanitised along with air ducts in the resorts.
Hand sanitising stations
Stations will be set up for guests and members of the Sandals Resorts team.
The stations will be set up throughout the resorts including dining areas and in guest rooms
- Countertops, pens, clipboards, picnic benches to be sanitized after each use
- Weight belts, regulators and dive masks to be left in sanitization bucket onboard after use
- Pool chairs will be sanitized every morning before use, and again after guest changeovers, and will be separated according to physical distancing guidelines at six feet apart or greater
All team members and therapists will wear masks and gloves when carrying out most spa treatments. Therapists will frequently wash hands with soap and water, and sanitize between clients and prior to resuming treatment. Massage tables, headrests and other wellness apparatuses will be thoroughly sanitized after use between clients
Team training and temperature checks
All team members will have specialised training which includes hygiene practices and ways to prevent the spread of the virus.
Members of staff have to undergo temperature checks before the start of each shift and have medical clearance.
They must also wear gloves and face masks, and not wear their uniform to and from work.
Food and beverage members to wear gloves and if required masks. All food preparation and storage surfaces will be sanitized regularly throughout the day. All frequently used machines, such as coffee, popcorn, ice cream, cookie jars, etc.,
All team members facilitating activities will be required to wear protective gear including mask and gloves.
Social distancing practices
Guests will be encouraged to maintain a safe distance from one another which includes adding more airport transfers with fewer guests in each vehicle, extending check-in times, safe social distances in restaurants, bars and beaches. Dedicated sunbeds and tables a safe distance apart. Safe distance set up in bars and restaurants will also be applied
Other social distancing measures include no hand-shakes and restricting trips in a lift to one couple per trip or one family per trip at beach resorts.
Guests will be able to check-in online so they can avoid person-to-person contact at the front desk and go directly to their room.
Suppliers and partners
Delivery windows will be restricted to one at a time, there will be limited physical contact, sanitation of all touch points and removal of all outer packaging.