Having announced last month that it would reopen the country’s borders on June 15, the Government of Aruba today clarified its position, noting that it will only reopen its borders to inbound travel from Bonaire and Curaçao on that date.
Following that event, on July 1, 2020, the Dutch-speaking country will welcome visitors from the Caribbean; however, this category will not include nationals of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. On that same day, Aruba will also welcome travellers from Europeans and Canada.
“Official opening dates for other markets, including South America and Central America have yet to be determined,” a release from the Aruban authorities said.
The Aruban Government decided to reopen borders, which it closed in early-March due to the spread of COVID-19, after consulting with the island’s Department of Health. In addition, it took into consideration the ongoing guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States.
“The safety and well-being of our residents and visitors is our highest priority. As we prepare to reopen our borders, Aruba has put in place advanced public health procedures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 on the island,” Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes stated.
“We have taken careful and deliberate steps to assess the current situation and make certain it is as safe as possible and appropriate to begin the reopening process,” she continued.
Each year, more than a million visitors travel to Aruba from all around the world. As a tourism-dependent economy, the reopening of its borders with all the enhanced public health procedures will usher in a “new normal” for the destination.
For example, travellers will have to comply with a new embarkation and disembarkation process upon entering the country. These mandatory travel requirements will become available on Aruba.com prior to the reopening.
“While there will be some necessary adjustments, our visitors’ Aruba experience will still have the essence of one happy island,” Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes, CEO of Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA) remarked.
“We are confident in the measures we have taken as Aruba is once again ‘Open for Happiness’,” she added.
As part of preparations for the reopening of the country, the Aruba Airport Authority has worked with the Department of Public Health and followed World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines to implement numerous measures such to screen visitors upon arrival. These include PCR tests, temperature checks, on-site medical professionals, social distance markers, additional shields and safeguards, mandatory PPE training for all staff, among others.
“The safety and well-being of our residents and visitors is our highest priority… Aruba has put in place advanced public health procedures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 on the island.”— Prime Minister of Aruba Evelyn Wever-Croes (Photo: University of Aruba)
In addition to social distancing, Aruba is placing temporary capacity limits on some of its more popular tourist destinations to decrease the flow of visitors at peak times.
Businesses are not excluded from adhering to the safety measures.
Recently, the Minister of Tourism, Public Health and Sports Danguillaume Pierino Oduber, along with the Department of Public Health and the Aruba Tourism Authority, introduced a new safety and hygiene programme in partnership with key private sector stakeholders.
The ‘Aruba Health & Happiness Code’, which outlines stringent cleaning and hygiene standards, is mandatory for all tourism-related businesses throughout the country. The protocol will ensure tourism businesses adhere to the strict guidelines for health, sanitation, and social distancing protocols.
Each business will go through a checklist of new rules and regulations on how to operate in a COVID-19 world. Upon completion, businesses will undergo inspection from the Department of Public Health and receive a Code Gold Certification once approved.