Dominica has no active COVID-19 cases
Dominica has no active COVID-19 cases. This announcement was made by Prime Minister Honorable Roosevelt Skerrit in an address to the nation on May 17, 2020. Despite this, the Prime Minister urged citizens not to be complacent and noted the importance of community testing to identify possible undetected cases. Restrictions on the reopening of business places, namely barbershops, hair salons, Sulphur spas, manicure, pedicure, and massage parlors were further lifted on May 18, 2020; however, these are to operate by appointment only.
The Prime Minister also noted that discussions are ongoing with church and faith-based leaders on how to facilitate the congregating of worshipers at their various places. For the time being, schools, in terms of the traditional gathering for classes will remain closed. Alternative methods of teaching, especially through online training, are continuing and being fine-tuned further. Consequently, schools and churches will only be reopened if there is “firm evidence of the absence of community spread. For detailed information on Dominica’s COVID 19 situation log on to our Dominica Update page at http://dominicaupdate.com
Dominica Could Reopen Boarders by July
Caribbean Community leaders for the past weeks have been in discussion regarding preparations for reopening their borders. Discussions include the development of guidelines and protocols for the gradual resumption of travel. Governments, airlines, and hotels are now finalizing the details of this phased re-opening. Consequently, Prime Minister Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit assured Dominicans that, assuming that the requisite protocols are in place, and should we continue on the current trajectory of the management of the pandemic situation, we hope to be able to facilitate at least regional travel by July.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit Announces Measures to Ease Financial Difficulties caused by the COVID 19 Pandemic.
As Dominica enters another milestone of zero case during the COVID 19 pandemic, Prime Minister of Dominica Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit announced the following measures to ease the financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic:
- Extension of the deadline to file personal and corporate income tax.
- EC$10 million to be spent under the Contingency Emergency Response Component of the Emergency Agriculture Livelihoods Project. This will include support to crop and livestock farmers by providing plant material, essential inputs, small farming implements and animal feed.
- Cash grants valued at EC$3.5 million will be disbursed to 2500 crop farmers.
- EC$3 million will be allocated to purchase fresh produce and fish from farmers and fishers. A portion of the fresh produce purchased will be distributed to vulnerable groups.
- Government will invest EC$296.8 in the construction sector which will include at least one road project in each constituency.
- Small contractors and merchants will receive financial assistance with funds approved by the International Monetary Fund under the Rapid Credit Facility
- Loan financing is available to farmers, hoteliers, and manufacturers through the Dominica Agricultural Industrial and Development (AID) Bank at a rate of 2% interest with a moratorium on payment for 6-12 months. This will include no payment on principal for one year and no payment of interest for six months.
- Income support will be provided to heads of families and single persons who are currently unemployed as a direct result of the pandemic. Income support of EC$400 – EC$600 will be provided for the period April – June 2020 and will be administered by the Dominica Social Security. A total of EC$15.7 million has been allocated for this.
- Loans will be provided to micro and small businesses at 1% interest up to $15, 000 through the AID Bank.
- Tax rebates will be granted on corporate income tax for the income year ended December 31, 2019 and for the period January 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020.
- Import duty and value added tax on disinfectants, cleaning supplies, protective gear and face masks will be reduced to zero per cent for six months in the first instance.
The US Market is excited to share another piece that highlights Dominica as one of the best destinations in the world for whale watching. The article is titled, “5 Best Whale Watching Destinations Around the World” and was published on Passion Passport with Dominica’s inclusion being a result of the collaboration and relationship with the writer Lola Méndez. Kindly visit this link for the full article. https://passionpassport.com/5-best-whale-watching-destinations/
Dominica hosted Lola on its July 2019 Press Trip and this is the 12th piece in which she included Dominica since then! This serves as a testament to the value of hosting journalists on the island.
Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) “Storm Lessons”
Mr. Colin Piper, CEO and Director of Tourism of Discover Dominica Authority participated in CTO’s webinar “Storm Lessons” on May 20th, 2020. The webinar featured some of the countries hit by major storms in the last three years, while they discussed lessons learnt, what they could have done differently, and how they intend to apply these lessons this year in light of COVID-19.
Other officials joining the discussion were Cardigan Corner, Parliamentary Secretary Tourism of Anguilla; Joy Jibrilu, Director General of Tourism of Bahamas; Sharon Flax-Brutus, Tourism Director of British Virgin Island; May-Ling Chun, Tourism Director of Dutch St. Maarten; and Valerie Damaseau, President, Tourism Office, French St. Martin. Discussions
The Ministry of Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives has appointed a Task Force to review and make recommendations for the recovery and growth of the Tourism industry post COVID-19.
The Task force has identified the pillars of access (air and sea), product development, marketing and promotions, and standards and protocols as being critical to the reopening of the destination. As such, subcommittees for each pillar were established, and development on a 30-day plan for each pillar is in an advanced state. These plans will be presented shortly to the Ministry of Tourism and other Government officials.
To further prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Governments have imposed travel restrictions. Consequently, many major airlines have suspended, reduced, or cut flights to affected regions. Airlines in the Caribbean continue to update on their services:
LIAT wishes to advise that the airline has extended the suspension of ALL passenger services until May 31st, 2020.
All passengers booked during the period of suspension will automatically have their bookings cancelled. Once the resumption of services has been announced, passengers will be allowed to rebook via LIAT’s Reservations Call Centre or Ticketing Offices. Please see the UPDATED COVID-19 WAIVER POLICY for more information.
Mrs. Reifer-Jones reassured the public that the airline was putting plans in place to resume operations as soon as there was a clear timeline by territories for the reopening of their borders. “We have been working with our stakeholders to develop a plan for resuming flights when this is possible.” The CEO also advised that the airline has in place strict cleaning protocols for its aircraft to ensure the health and safety of its passengers and staff.
The airline acknowledged that this was an extremely difficult time for its employees and other stakeholders across the region. While LIAT is operating with a skeletal staff, the CEO stated that the airline continues to offer charter and cargo services. www.liat.com
Silver Airways COVID 19 Update
Beginning May 15, 2020, all Silver and Seaborne passengers must wear face coverings (including masks, bandanas, scarves, or other forms of face protection) in the airports we serve and when in flight.
The mask requirement includes time during check-in, boarding, in-flight, and deplaning. Young children who are not able to maintain a face covering on their own are exempt from this policy, as are individuals with qualifying health reasons or disabilities.
This requirement is part of the airline’s ongoing commitment to prioritizing customer and team member well-being in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Always remember to avoid travel if you are showing symptoms of respiratory illness or traveling from a restricted area. https://www.silverairways.com/
Post COVID-19, there will be changes to the protocols that destinations will need to follow. One critical area of the visitor’s trip is the accommodation experience. DDA through the Product Development Department and Quality Assurance Unit will be active along with other stakeholders to develop the local protocols to ensure that the destination offers a safe experience to the visitor.
Atlantique View Resort and Chef Ian Barthley Team Up
Atlantique View Resort took on the task of improving its service offering during the Covid-19 pandemic and partnered with Chef Ian Barthley, Chef instructor at Oxon Hill High School in Washington DC. Chef Barthley is also the 2019 Uber Soca Cruise chef competition champion, he competed on the Food Network Holiday Basking Championship, was featured in the Art Culinaire Magazine’s 35th Edition, and has over 30 years’ experience in Culinary Arts.
Training for the Atlantique View Resort kitchen staff was held on May 19, 2020, via a virtual training session. Chef Barthley took the opportunity to analyze the work of the kitchen staff, and pinpointed areas of improvement. He facilitated the sessions by guiding and supporting the kitchen staff in the knowledge and techniques of food handling, food and labor cost control, and improved productivity, among others.
The training met its objective of producing the desired result in the food and beverage department.
Chef Barthley has a passion for his fellow Caribbean people and the Caribbean product. So, it is a perfect fit with him as a native of the Caribbean Island of Antigua to work along with a locally owned property in the Caribbean Island of Dominica.
Upon completion of developing the Atlantique View Resort Food and Beverage brand, his intention is to expand his focus on working with Dominica and other Caribbean Islands to improve their Culinary Arts brand with his team of professionals who can do just that.
Center for Disease Control &Prevention (CDC) renewed the No Sail Order
On April 9, 2020, the Center for Disease Control &Prevention (CDC) renewed the No Sail Order and Other Measures Related to Operations Order signed by the CDC Director on March 14, 2020—subject to the modifications and additional stipulated conditions as set forth in this Order. The Order is published in the Federal Register and effective as of April 15, 2020. The extended Order is in effect until one of the following occurs:
- The Secretary of Health and Human Services declares that COVID-19 no longer constitutes a public health emergency, or
- The CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations, or
- 100 days have passed from April 15, the date the extended order was published in the Federal Register and went into effect. 100 days from April 15 is July 24. https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2020-07930
Discover Dominica Authority will continue to monitor the situation with Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) and the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), along with updates form cruise lines.
American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) free online training
The American Hotel and Lodging Association is offering free online training to tourism professionals in the areas of: Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA), Hospitality Manager: Leadership and Supervisory Skill Builders.
For additional information, please visit: www.ahlei.org
ServSafe Takeout and Delivery
The outbreak of COVID-19 has altered operations for many restaurants and food businesses in the Caribbean. In light of the prevailing circumstances, the OAS in partnership with the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute has produced two free online short courses, in English and Spanish, for the restaurant and tourism industry at large, to reinforce safe food handling with a focus on practices to keep food and employees safe during the coronavirus outbreak and address COVID-19 precautions for restaurant takeout and delivery. To access these courses please click HERE. These short courses cover the following:
- An overview of coronavirus, symptoms of COVID-19, and details about its transmission
- Review of five-step handwashing process
- Respiratory hygiene practices to reduce the spread of the virus
- Keeping guests safe through heightened cleaning and sanitizing
- Guidelines for single-use gloves
- Packaging considerations for takeout and/or curbside pickup
- Guest contact precautions during takeout
To access these courses please click HERE:
Organization of the American States (OAS)
The Organization of the American States (OAS) – Executive Secretariat for Integral Development has informed of the availability of two free interactive web-based courses in response to COVID 19:
- IS-317.A: Introduction to Community Emergency Response Team Introduction to Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), IS-317.A, is an independent study course that serves as an introduction to CERT for those interested in completing the basic CERT training or as a refresher for current team members. https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS317.a
- IS-315.A: CERT and the Incident Command System (ICS) The Incident Command System (ICS) is a proven management system used by emergency managers. Applying ICS during a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) activation will help maintain the safety of disaster workers, provide clear leadership and organizational structure, and improve the effectiveness of rescue efforts. This course will cover the principles of ICS and help learners understand how to effectively apply the principles through interactive real-life scenarios. https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-315.a
With the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the upcoming hurricane season, these courses are timely as they address disaster preparedness and trains and organizes teams of volunteers that can support communities during disasters.
For additional information and registration, please visit: http://www.oas.org/en/scholarships/PAEC/2020/GS-OAS-SEDI-AnnouncementFEMACERTTraining-ENG.pdf
For COVID related information on Dominica please visit our Dominica Update site at http://dominicaupdate.com/.
For more information on Dominica, contact Discover Dominica Authority at 767 448 2045. Or, visit Dominica’s official website: www.DiscoverDominica.com , follow Dominica on Twitter and Facebook and take a look at our videos on YouTube.
About Dominica: Dominica (pronounced Dom-in-EEK-a, and not to be confused with the Dominican Republic) is a haven for adventure travelers seeking a unique vacation that includes: hiking and adventure, cultural events/festivals, diving and water sports, whale/dolphin watching and canyoning adventures. Dominica lies south of Guadeloupe and north of Martinique in the Eastern Caribbean. Air travelers can connect to Dominica on Air Antilles, Air Sunshine, Coastal Air Transport, interCaribbean Airways, LIAT, Seaborne Airlines, or WINAIR from the surrounding hubs of Antigua, Barbados, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, St Lucia, the British Virgin Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. If travelling by sea, travelers can connect to Dominica on L’Express Des Iles ferry service from Guadeloupe, Martinique, and St. Lucia and on Val’ Ferry from Guadeloupe and Martinique.