Saint Lucia unveils plans to reopen to tourists early next month | Covid-19


The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority has announced a phased approach to reopening the island’s tourism sector “responsibly”, starting June 4.

Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee said in the statement released on Sunday that the strategy protects nationals and visitors from the threat of COVID-19 through testing; daily screening and monitoring of staff and visitors; sanitation at points throughout the traveler journey; and new social distancing protocols.

“Our new protocols have been carefully crafted and will build trust with travelers and our citizens,” Fedee said. “The government of Saint Lucia remains committed to protecting both lives and livelihoods as it revives its economy.”

According to the statement, the first phase of the reopening includes opening to flights from the United States only at the larger of its two airports, Hewanorra International Airport.

“In anticipation of the first visitors, some 1,500 hotel rooms in Saint Lucia are being prepared to open in early June, pending the completion of a new COVID-19 certification process,” Fedee said.

To protect residents and mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, Fedee said Saint Lucia closed its travel borders on March 23.

Since then, Saint Lucia has followed protocols recommended by the World Health Organization and the Caribbean Public Health Agency, observed shelter-in-place guidelines, and established a COVID-19 task force.

To date, Saint Lucia has recorded 18 cases of COVID-19, and all individuals have fully recovered. No active cases are currently under investigation, according to the press release.

Fedee said the phased approach to reopening, which continues through July 31, is the result of task force consultations with industry stakeholders on the island.

The new procedures extend from the hotel reservation process to arrival at the airport and the hotel experience.

Protocols include:

• Visitors are required to present certified proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of boarding their flight.

• Upon arrival in Saint Lucia, all travelers should continue to use face masks and observe physical distancing.

• Travelers will be subject to checks and temperature checks by port health authorities.

Fedee said protocols are being established for taxis to provide safety precautions and separate the driver from guests as an additional safety measure.

He added that in order to ensure Saint Lucia remains a safe and responsible destination, the government is developing a COVID-19 certificate for hotels.

“Hotels must meet a dozen or more specific criteria for disinfection, social distancing and other COVID-19 protocols before they are allowed to open to guests,” Fedee said.

Phase two of the island’s “new responsible approach to tourism will begin August 1. Details will be released at a later date,” Fedee said.

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