Caribbean nations have been facing unique challenges when it comes to combatting the spread of COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, pandemic. Many islands have seen high recovery rates with very low death rates. The island country of St. Lucia was one of the first to announced a 100% recovery rate from the patients that contracted the virus. Now, the island has announced it plans to reopen for leisure travel starting in early June.
The government of St. Lucia unveiled its phased approach to reopening the island’s tourism sector beginning June 4, 2020. Minister of Tourism Dominic Fedee announced the new plan today and has emphasized that his ultimate goal is to ensure the safety of nationals and visitors from the threat of the public health crisis. The strategy was created after consulting island stakeholders and the national COVID-19 task force.
Visitors to St. Lucia will be expected to present certified proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of boarding their flight and will be subject to screening and temperature checks by port health authorities.
In Phase One of the reopening strategy, travelers will be advised to check with airlines regarding flight schedules and rules prior to booking. Traditional tourist experiences and tours will be available only in a limited capacity. In anticipation of its first visitors, almost 1,500 hotels on the island are being prepared to open in early June pending completion of a new COVID-19 certification process all hotels must go through to ensure they are up to quality standards. Phase Two is scheduled to start on Aug. 1, 2020.
“Our new protocols have been carefully crafted and will build confidence among travelers and our citizens,” said Fedee in a press statement. He went on to explain that “the Government of St. Lucia remains resolved to protect both lives and livelihoods as it jumpstarts its economy.”