By Damien Martin
As destinations worldwide begin to reopen regionally at first, our plans to travel to Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa and South America have to be put on hold for a bit. This gives us the opportunity to rediscover America and travel domestically. But we can also this summer take advantage of the good luck that we’re in the same region as the wonderful islands of the Caribbean.
These islands are largely dependent on tourism, and they were still on their way to full recovery from the devastating 2017 hurricane season when the novel coronavirus hit. Fortunately, most of them have managed to avoid large-scale medical damage from COVID-19, but the lack of visitors has certainly hurt their economies.
Being careful to protect their people from potential infection, many Caribbean destinations are getting ready to reopen to tourism in time for the summer season.
Antigua and St. Lucia began welcoming visitors last week, requiring proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within 48 hours of boarding a plane to either island. The U.S. Virgin Islands have reopened to tourism, but safer at home orders remain in effect, limiting bar and restaurant capacity to 50% and gatherings to 10 people. Jamaica will open to tourists June 15, with facemasks required in airports, taxis and hotels and travelers screened on arrival. Aruba plans to reopen between June 15 and July 1, with entry requirements still to be announced. The Bahamas have reopened all airports, and tourism will resume July 1. Turks & Caicos plans to reopen to visitors July 22.
Grenada hopes to welcome visitors starting June 30, but plans are not firm. St. Maarten, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, the hardest hit Caribbean nation with more than 500 deaths, anticipate July reopenings. The Cayman Islands will not open before Sept. 1, and several other islands have not yet announced reopening dates.
As always, we ask our travelers to be respectful of the places and people they are visiting and follow any face covering and social distancing rules in place. Your travel advisor will be happy to provide more specific information about individual islands and resorts. It’s been a tough few months, and we can’t freely roam everywhere in the world just yet, but we’re thrilled that some of the most beautiful islands you could ever hope to see are welcoming us back, and we’re thrilled to support them.