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.
“The health and safety of our residents and our visitors will always be our top priority,” stated the Hon. Charles “Max” Fernandez, Minister of Tourism & Investment. “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,”.
“We look forward to welcoming our visitors back to Antigua and Barbuda,” said Colin James, CEO, Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority. “While we look forward to our borders opening, this is still a highly unprecedented time and we realise that we are now entering a new and ever-changing landscape. Priorities in the travel industry have shifted, and our visitors’ priorities are different – we have worked diligently across all sectors on the islands as well as in collaboration with our Caribbean neighbours to prepare for the new normal and to ensure a healthy and safe environment for all”.
During Phase one, the following safety measures will be in place at ports of entry:
- All arriving passengers must have a mask in their possession for use on disembarkation, which must be worn in public areas throughout their stay in Antigua and Barbuda.
- All arriving passengers must complete a health declaration form. Screenings and thermal checks will occur on arrival and passengers may be asked to undergo coronavirus testing on arrival.
- With regard to airport transfers, up to 4 members of a family are allowed in a single vehicle while larger commercial passenger transport vehicles are permitted to carry only 50% of the vehicle seating capacity, for example 7 passengers in a 15 –seater vehicle. Vehicles must be kept clean and sanitized after each trip, and all will be equipped with hand sanitizer. All vehicles will be subject to random inspections by public health officers and certified vehicles will clearly display a decal indicating safety approval.
- Passengers arriving by sailing craft (private yachts/Ferry Services) are subject to the guidelines issued by Port Health.
- All Marine Pleasure Craft and Ferry Services will enter ONLY at the Nevis Street Pier.
- All hospitality accommodations to include hotels, resorts, villas and home rentals must satisfy the stipulations of the Ministry of Health Wellness and the Environment and be certified prior to reopening to welcome visitors.
- Restaurant dining protocols include enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces, incorporate physical distancing measures, and will offer a la carte dining and delivery or takeout services, instead of buffet.
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Our country’s financial health has dwindled tremendously… If the ports continue to be close then dog will be better off than us…. In my view I think the govt is doing the right thing to reopen the port…. A very high percentage of the GDP is generated from the port…. However, I am praying that the right protocols/ strategies and vigilance are in place to prevent anyone with the virus upon entry be caught immediately and be dealt with accordingly…… It only takes a spark from one match stick to burn down a forest…. Equally so, it only takes one person with the virus to reap havoc in our beautiful country….
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