Options are starting to open up for travelers looking for a little sand and sunshine in their future.
Both the British Virgin Islands and the Bahamas have announced new policies that open up visits to the Caribbean for those who are fully vaccinated.
Starting May 15, travelers arriving in the British Virgin Islands with proof they are fully vaccinated must take a PCR test upon arrival. Once the result comes back negative, they will be allowed to explore the territory freely without the standard 4-day quarantine.
The result will most likely take less than a day to come back, officials said.
“This is great news and timely, as more guests are arriving fully vaccinated, and many in our industry have stepped forward to take the vaccine in support of economic rejuvenation,” BVI Director of Tourism Clive McCoy said in a statement.
All visitors to the territory must have proof of a negative PVR test within 5 days of arrival before entering the territory.
“The territory already has an enviable record for health and safety during the pandemic and have continued with its strategy of gradual reopening based on international conditions and the local situation,” McCoy said. “Any progress in that direction augers well for tourism and the economy, and this is a very significant step.”
In April, the British Virgin Islands were recognized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as a model for the Eastern Caribbean.
Carlos Chaccour, speaking on behalf of the UNDP, said entry protocols adopted by the territory have been highly effective in safely reopening and managing its borders.
Meanwhile, the Bahamas is allowing fully vaccinated travelers to enter the country exempt from testing requirements starting May 1.
Vaccinated travelers will still need to apply for the Bahamas Travel Health Visa and upload proof of vaccination with their application.
Those who are not fully vaccinated are welcome in the Bahamas but must jump through several other hoops. Those vacationers must show proof of a negative test within 5 days of arrival and be subject to COVID-19 antigen testing if they stay in the country for more than 4 nights.
While the Bahamas is relaxing its rules about entry, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is raising alarms about Americans heading there.
The CDC last week raised its warning for travel to the Bahamas to level 4, the most severe level. It warns that travelers should avoid the island nation.
“Because of the current situation in the Bahamas, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to the Bahamas,” the advisory states.
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