Travel Webcast

Destinations Begin Process Of Reopening

Italy, Saint Lucia, Puerto Vallarta, Florida Keys Unveils Phased In Plans

Calling it a “calculated risk,” Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte announced that as of June 3, people would be allowed to travel to and from Italy and between the country’s various regions. And for travellers from EU countries, there will be no 14-day quarantine requirement.

And a number of destinations are beginning to move towards opening up their tourism economies in the coming weeks.

Saint Lucia Targets June 4

Using a phased approach, Saint Lucia says it will begin reopening its tourism sector beginning on June 4.

Saint Lucia’s Minister of Tourism Honourable Dominic Fedee, said the reopening strategy protects nationals and visitors from the threat of COVID-19 through advance testing; daily screening and monitoring of staff and visitors; sanitization at various points throughout the travelers’ journey; and new social distancing protocols.

Phase One of the reopening includes welcoming international flights at Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) from the United States only.

Travellers are advised to check with airlines regarding flight schedules and rules prior to booking. In anticipation of these first visitors, some 1,500 hotel rooms in Saint Lucia are being prepared to open in early June, pending completion of a new COVID-19 certification process.

To protect residents and mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, Saint Lucia closed its borders to international markets on March 23, 2020. Since then, the island has followed safety protocols recommended by the World Health Organization and the Caribbean Public Health Agency, collaborated with the local Department of Health and Wellness, observed shelter-in-place guidelines, and created a COVID-19 Task Force to plan for a responsible reopening.

To date, Saint Lucia has recorded 18 cases of COVID-19, and all individuals have fully recovered. No active cases are currently being investigated.

Fedee said the phased approach to reopening, which continues through July 31, 2020, resulted from national COVID-19 Task Force consultations with on-island industry stakeholders.

New procedures span from the hotel booking process to the airport arrival and hotel experience in Saint Lucia. Protocols include:

  • Visitors are required to present certified proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of boarding their flight.
  • Upon arrival in Saint Lucia, all travelers must continue the use of face masks and physical distancing.
  • Travellers will be subject to screening and temperature checks by port health authorities.
  • Protocols are being established for taxis, to provide safety precautions and separate the driver from guests as an added security measure.
  • Health and safety protocols will be reinforced through the use of signage that includes QR codes which take travelers to a landing page for more information.

To further ensure that Saint Lucia remains a safe and responsible destination, the government is developing a COVID-19 Certificate for hotels. Hotels must meet a dozen or more specific criteria for sanitization, social distancing and other COVID-19 protocols before they will be permitted to open to guests. These measures will enhance protection of visitors, staff and Saint Lucian nationals.

In Phase One, the traditional experiences that Saint Lucia is known for will be available in a limited capacity. Registered hotels and travel providers will work with visitors directly to arrange safe experiences.

Said Fedee: “Our new protocols have been carefully crafted and will build confidence among travellers and our citizens. The Government of Saint Lucia remains resolved to protect both lives and livelihoods as it jumpstarts its economy.”

Phase Two of the island’s new responsible approach to tourism will commence on Aug. 1, 2020, with details to be revealed in the weeks ahead.

Go to www.stlucia.org/covid-19 for more.

Florida Keys Begins Reopening June 1

June 1 is the target date that officials in the Florida Keys are targeting to reopen for visitors following the island chain’s closure to tourists March 22 in an effort to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19.

The easing of visitor restrictions is to coincide with the planned June 1 suspension of checkpoints on two roads leading from the South Florida mainland to the Keys. In addition, plans call for arriving passenger screenings at Key West International and Florida Keys Marathon International airports to be suspended as well.

Lodging is to be limited to 50% of standard occupancy during beginning stages of reopening. Local leaders are to examine the situation later in June to make determinations regarding relaxing occupancy restrictions.

New coronavirus infections in Monroe County have been greatly reduced, health officials said, and the infection rate in Miami-Dade and Broward has eased, enabling leaders in those counties to begin reopening businesses and public facilities. Those were keys factors that led to the determination of a targeted Keys tourism reopening date.

Monroe County Mayor Heather Carruthers said that Keys lodging and other tourism-related businesses are preparing for a “new normal” to host visitors.

New disinfecting and social distancing guidelines, as well as mandatory wearing of face coverings for both visitors and tourism industry staff members, are to be initiated with input from the Florida Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Carruthers said the county plans to enforce health guidelines.

Keys tourism officials expressed gratitude that the subtropical island destination is reopening to visitors.

“We appreciate and have supported local government and health officials’ decisions to minimize coronavirus infection rates in the Keys,” said Rita Irwin, chair of the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, the destination management office for the Florida Keys & Key West. “That said, we are most gratified that we can ease into hosting visitors again.

“Tourism is the economic lifeblood of the Keys and almost half of our workforce is employed in visitor-related jobs,” Irwin added.

Go to www.fla-keys.com for more.

Puerto Vallarta Enters Phase 0

Puerto Vallarta started its reopening process as the State of Jalisco enters Phase 0 of its COVID-19 recovery plan.

Phase 0 – which began on May 18 — will last at least 15 days and allow for the gradual return of some economic activities. It is the first step in preparing protocols for the next phases of the plan.

During this time, social distancing, and the use of face masks outside the home will remain mandatory. Stores, public roads, and businesses previously deemed non-essential that are linked to supply chains are allowed to operate at 50 percent of capacity. Select businesses that do not generate crowds and adhere to social distancing guidelines will also be permitted to open.

Beaches, public spaces, shopping malls, bars, and nightclubs will remain closed. Restaurants and cafes that commit to applying established sanitation and safety protocols may operate at 50% of their capacity.

Hotel services such as access to swimming pools, bars, gyms, beach clubs, and private beaches remain suspended at this time. Cleaning, sanitizing, and disease prevention measures are in place at Puerto Vallarta International Airport, the cruise port, on public transportation, in supermarkets, and in government offices which are providing limited services. Local authorities are working closely with the travel sector to progressively implement updated protocols to support the transition to the next phase of recovery.

German Ralis, Minister of Tourism of the State of Jalisco, said: “Tourism is a very important industry in our state, and we are looking forward to welcoming back international visitors when the time is right.”

The Minister continued: “However, we remain very cautious with our plans for re-opening Jalisco, including popular tourism destinations like Puerto Vallarta, to ensure that the safest and cleanest conditions await guests upon their return.”

Throughout Phase 0, the government will continue to monitor the number of new cases identified and the ability to isolate and provide contact tracing for individuals who test positive, in order to determine when the state can proceed to the next phase of opening. More information will be available it the coming weeks.

St. Martin Continues The Reopening Process

The beach band has been lifted Swimming at sea is now authorized.

Nevertheless, gatherings of more than 10 persons remain prohibited.

Reopening of businesses (except for bars and restaurants)

On the French side

Public establishments and businesses have been allowed to reopen since May 11.

On the Dutch side

The economic reopening plan is scheduled to start on May 18th.

On both sides of the island, the opening hours of all businesses are from 08. 00 am to 06. 00 pm from Monday to Friday.

Reopening of schools

Reopening of schools is scheduled on May 18 on both sides of the island.

Circulation on the Territory

Both French and Dutch governments have agreed to maintain a “Friendly Border Control” in order to restrict non-essential movements.

Airports

At Princess Juliana International Airport and at Grand Case Airport, regular flights are not allowed. Only cargo and medical evacuations flights are allowed to operate.

Inter-island ferry station

Connections between Saint-Martin and the neighboring islands of Anguilla and St. Barthelemy are suspended until further notice departing from the Maritime Station in Marigot.

Marina Fort Louis

The Fort Louis Marina in Marigot is closed to the public.

In the event of an emergency please call +590 590 77 31 26 from 08:00 am to 04:00 pm on weekdays and from 08:00 am to noon on weekends or send an email to  info@marinafortlouis.com

Cruise ship terminal

Cruise ships are not welcomed until further notice.

Port of Galisbay

The commercial port of Galisbay is considered a vital structure, so normal activity is fully maintained. There are no cancellations or changes to the schedule in terms of receipt of goods.

Navigation

Boating and watersport activities are prohibited until June 2nd.

However, tenders and ships can sail to shore for groceries and refuel.

Hospitals

At the Louis Constant Fleming Hospital, and until further notice, precautionary measures are maintained in order to limit access to the hospital with exception of the emergency room.

 

Posted in COVID-19, Destinations, News

 

 

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