With the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus sending rates back up around the world and the Caribbean, some islands have had to adjust their travel and on land protocols yet again.
Here are some updates you should be aware of. Please check the health authorities or tourism websites of the destinations you wish to travel to and ensure you are complying with the latest protocols and you know what to expect once on the ground.
Antigua and Barbuda
Effective since December 27, all arriving passengers including returning nationals and residents are required to present verifiable documentation of full vaccination using World Health Organization (WHO) or Ministry of Health Wellness and the Environment (MOHWE) approved two-dose COVID 19 vaccine or a single dose vaccine to be permitted entry into Antigua and Barbuda. Children below the age of 18 years arriving at a port of entry are exempted from this requirement.
Fully vaccinated arriving passengers can present an RT PCR test negative result of four days or fewer from the date of testing, or an approved Rapid Antigen test negative result of four days or fewer from the date of testing to be permitted entry. This includes transiting passengers.
Fully vaccinated passengers with valid SARS-CoV-2 (COVID 19) Rapid Antigen Test negative results may be required to submit to an RT PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 upon arrival at their own expense. Instructions on permissible activities while awaiting results will be provided by Port Health officials.
Unvaccinated minors between the ages of five and 18 years old must present a negative RT PCR test/ Rapid Antigen test of four days or fewer from the date of testing. Unvaccinated minors who are not staying at a certified resort/accommodation (Airbnb)) will be required to quarantine at home for a period of 14 days. Children below the age of five years do not require a COVID -19 RT-PCR test.
The Bahamas has suspended the mandatory RT-PCR testing requirement for vaccinated travellers, which was expected to take effect on January 7. Vaccinated people, as well as children ages 2-11, may continue to present either a negative Rapid Antigen Test or negative RT-PCR Test.
In addition, effective January 4, all visitors remaining in The Bahamas for longer than 48 hours will be required to undergo a Rapid Antigen Test, regardless of vaccination status. This test replaces the existing Day-5 Rapid Antigen Test.
Travellers are permitted to travel to Barbados with a valid negative Rapid COVID-19 PCR test result done within one day prior to arrival in Barbados, or a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test result done within three days prior to arrival in Barbados.
Effective December 17, 2021, the COVDI-19 testing requirement for those travelling to Grand Cayman and the sister islands has been reduced from 72 hours to no earlier than the day before departure. Testing options have also been expanded to include a certified rapid test. Unvaccinated travellers are not allowed entry at this time.
A curfew has been instituted from 8 pm to 5 am daily, effective Tuesday, January 4 to Tuesday, January 18.
During the curfew period, restaurants, bars and other food operations are to close dining-in services from 6 pm with proprietors and staff making arrangements to be at home by 8 pm. Take-away services are allowed after 6 pm, however, all precautionary measures must be taken and all persons are expected to be at home by 8 pm.
All passengers arriving on domestic flights are required to show a negative COVID-19 test (either antigen or PCR performed by an authorised health provider) result taken within 48 hours before arrival time, regardless of vaccination status. Passengers arriving without a test will have 48 hours to take one upon arrival or be subject to a fine. Unvaccinated travellers must quarantine for seven days after arriving whether or not they have a negative test result.
Between January 4 – 18, all business will close between midnight and 5 am. This restriction will not affect health services, including testing sites, laboratories, and pharmacies. The sale of alcohol is also prohibited during this time between midnight and 5 am.
Those attending mass events (both indoors and outdoors taking place at theaters, amphitheaters, coliseums, stadiums, and convention centers) will be required to present proof of vaccination with an FDA or WHO-approved vaccine and also a negative COVID-19 test (either antigen or PCR performed by an authorised health provider) taken in the 48 hours prior to the event.
All establishments serving food or drinks must require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test (either antigen or PCR performed 48 hours prior.
The following protocols have been implemented for the period Friday, January 7 to Friday, February 4. Everyone will be confined to their residence during the week from Mondays to Thursdays from 10 pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 9 pm and on Sundays from 6 pm. Public omnibuses should not be loaded with more than 10 passengers and mass crowd events, competitive or high contact sporting activity, including indoor and outdoor training and local competitions, are not allowed at this time. People can host or attend a social event or recreational activity that does not exceed 35 persons of his or her immediate family at his or her residence.