COVID-19 has affected travel worldwide. Certain cities and countries shut down initially, and some looking to reopen in the near future. If you are thinking of heading to the Caribbean, let’s take a close look at how the islands are planning to reopen.
Effect of Coronavirus
The Caribbean has felt the full effects of COVID-19. Stores, restaurants and hotels have all closed in recent months to prevent the spread of the virus. In particular, because the Caribbean is such a scenic destination, tourism in this region has really taken a hit. The number of visitors has dropped to almost none at its low point and is slowly creeping back up. It needs to be emphasized that although the Caribbean is a chain of islands, the coronavirus has had no less of an impact. Government officials have recognized that the health of your family is of utmost importance. Although the region’s economy has taken a massive hit during this time, they are being very cautious about reopening. If the reopening takes place too quickly, cases could surge once again, and the Caribbean will have to close. It’s a much better approach to take things slow, and this approach is evident in their plan to reopen.
As mentioned, the Caribbean has outlined a plan to slowly reopen in the near future. One primary way of doing is is to limit capacity. At hotels, less than half the rooms are in occupancy at any given time. This allows for good social distancing as people are able to stay six feet apart. At restaurants, only a fraction of the normal number of customers can dine in at one time. Even the beaches are going to have restricted access in some shape or form. As you might imagine, Caribbean beaches become extremely crowded in the summer as everyone is trying to cool off. At a bare minimum, officers will be counting the number of people at the beach at one time. If the number borders on overcrowding, there is a good chance that they will limit access until some people leave. Also look for stations to wash your hands and hand sanitizers in all these public spaces.
Introducing a quarantine is one way the Caribbean is planning to reopen. Although the duration of this quarantine is yet to be determined, it is likely to exist as a way of screening everyone who arrives in the islands. Visitors might have to stay in their hotels for the first few days in the islands. For the next few days after that, tourists might not be able to enter certain public spaces that are relatively enclosed. A curfew is another thing that the government will introduce. A curfew ensures that people aren’t wandering about after hours when it is much safer to stay indoors. This isn’t because the darkness is inherently dangerous, but rather because if there is no need for human contact, then no contact should be made. Finally, face masks will be an absolute must in public spaces. From supermarkets to other shopping outlets, many locations in the Caribbean will require that shoppers wear a face mask at all times. Other protective measures are set to be put in place. Instead of physically going into stores, many shops are offering delivery services or at the very least delivery to your car. Takeout and drive-thru options will allow for social distancing as well. Many of the familiar reopening phases in your home country will exist in the Caribbean as well.
Social distancing is at the heart of reopening society. For the Caribbean, this means fewer tour groups and possibly none at all. As you might imagine, tour groups implied that large numbers of people are congregated at a single location, and here it is impossible to stay six feet apart. When you dine in at restaurants, there’s a good chance that you’re limited to parties of four or fewer. As for your travels, this means that you have to plan more of it yourself and rely less on tour guides. Contact hotels and lodges directly instead of planning to stay with a large group. Another important place to social distance is at popular tourist attractions. The Caribbean is full of scenic beauty from coast to coast, and national landmarks are abundant. Don’t be surprised when attractions are only running at half capacity or less. In essence, plan ahead to spend an extra hour at each tour stop. You might have to wait your turn in line due to highly restricted numbers.
Planning Your Vacation
Given all of the above, what is the best way to plan your vacation? In the coming months, look for flights to the Caribbean to be cheaper than normal. Airlines are trying to encourage business, and many are being extra lenient about change or cancellation policies. In particular, U.S. citizens will have an advantage in this regard. American citizens will likely be subject to a brief screening at the airport where they are checked for coughing or an abnormally high temperature. This screening procedure reduces the risk of transmission both on the airplane and at the destination. While on the airplane, passengers will be seated at a maximum distance from one another whenever possible.
In conclusion, the Caribbean islands are planning to reopen in a safe and secure manner. Although it will take some time to get back up to speed, you should put travel back on your agenda for the rest of 2020. The Caribbean has a cohesive plan to reopen and are doing a great job of leading the way for other tourist destinations.