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Jamaica reopens to tourists today

Jamaica will reopen its borders to tourists today, following a two-month closure due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Jewel Runaway Bay, Jamaica. (Photo: Playa Resorts)

Approximately 600 visitors are expected to arrive from the United States from a total of six scheduled flights.

Last week, Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, said 6,000 tourists will enter the island between June 15 and month’s end in what is a staggered reopening of the tourism sector.

“It’s a start, and it’s a start that is going to be vital, because we need to ensure that capacity is there to manage that kind of flow, and health and security as well as tourism are going to be special players in ensuring that [overall] management,” Barlett said during the June 11 virtual press conference.

Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett (Photo: JIS)

Additionally, a range of new measures for non-nationals visiting the island was shared by Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Friday, June 12.

Holness said non-nationals visiting Jamaica for tourism will be subject to testing if considered high-risk, meaning they either come from a country designated as high risk for COVID-19 transmission or due to other risk factors such as exhibiting symptoms or exposure to people who have tested positive.

Those assessed as high risk will have their samples taken at the airport or other designated facility and await their test results at their hotel or resort under the ‘stay in zone’ measure. If the test is negative, they will remain under the ‘stay in zone’ measure. However, if the test is positive, they will be isolated either at the hotel/resort or in a government facility as determined by the health authorities.

Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness

Those not assessed as high risk will be allowed to go to their hotel/resort under the ‘stay in zone’ measure. This means they are required for the duration of their stay in Jamaica to remain within the COVID-19 resilient corridor, Holness said.

He added that non-nationals visiting Jamaica for business purposes for less than 14 days will be required to be tested at the airport or other designated facility.

Some 6,000 tourist arrivals are expected on the island over the next two weeks.
Jewels Dunns River in St Ann, Jamaica (visitjamaica.com)

They will then await their test results under quarantine at their hotel/intended address. If the test is positive, they would be isolated either at their hotel/intended address or in a government facility as determined by the health authorities. However, if the test is negative, they would be released from quarantine and therefore be free to conduct their business meetings. 

However, Holness said they must, adhere to all measures for controlling risk of spread that are in place such as washing/sanitisation of hands, wearing of masks, etc.