Dominica Continues to Ease COVID-19 Restrictions
Dominica continues to ease COVID 19 related restrictions after the last confirmed case. The announcement was made by Minister of Health, Wellness, and New Health Investment, Dr. Irving McIntyre in a statement on May 23, 2020. The Minister stated that while restrictions are being lifted to cater to the mental and physical well-being of the population, it does not imply that Dominica is COVID free. Dr. McIntyre urged Dominicans to continue wearing face masks and practice physical distancing measures. He also noted that testing is ongoing for frontline workers and persons who meet the case definition for the virus. Community testing is also in progress to determine immunity levels to the virus and to identify undetected cases. Read more at http://dominicaupdate.com/2020/05/25/dominica-covid-19-update-may-25-2020/
Nearly 90 percent of U.S. Travelers Plan to Vacation by End of 2021
InsureMyTrip announced the results of a new poll of roughly 4,000 U.S. American travelers that reveal the vast majority of them intend to travel again by the end of 2021. Americans are more optimistic about the possibility of future trips than they were a few weeks ago with 30 percent polled saying they may travel by 2021 at the earliest, and once restrictions are lifted; 21 percent hope to travel by the end of this year; 15 percent say they will possibly travel this fall; 13 percent say travel is not yet on their radar; 11 percent are likely to travel this summer if restrictions are lifted, and 10 percent want to travel as soon as possible. Read more about the US
“Bubble” is the hot term of the moment
Some countries are considering a “tourism bubble” – partnering up to allow international travel between borders – while friends are joining together to form a “social bubble” to limit outside contact. Outlets like Elite Traveler are using this term to share ideas for where “social bubbles” can travel together, from hotel buyouts to luxury home rentals.
Intra-Regional Travel is Intention of June Opening of External Borders
Oliver Joseph, Grenada’s cabinet minister with ministerial responsibility for CARICOM, said that the plan is for CARICOM Member states to open external borders for regional travel only, and not international air traffic for the first phase of reopening borders which are tentatively set to enforce in June 2020.
“What we are discussing is to first allow regional travel, that is, travel within the islands such as travel between Grenada and Trinidad or between Trinidad and Barbados, we are not looking at having international carriers come to the island yet,” said Joseph who, last week chaired the 50th Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED).
During the virtual meeting, the COTED approved a strategy for the re-opening of economies in the Caribbean Community. The Council is made up of Trade Ministers and officials agreed to a framework centered on the development and adherence to defined metrics related to the Covid-19 virus, which will guide in the reopening process. For more information. Read more at https://today.caricom.org/2020/05/15/intra-regional-travel-is-intention-of-june-opening-of-external-borders/
Caribbean Destinations Prepare to Reopen Borders to Tourists
Caribbean destinations are preparing to welcome back visitors after being closed to travel for nearly two months to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The following islands are already set to go:
US Virgin Islands to Reopen for Tourists on June 1
Saint Lucia has already laid out a phased-reopening plan beginning on June 4
Antigua and Barbuda reopening to international tourists June 4th
The Government of Aruba announced a tentative reopening of the borders for inbound travel scheduled between June 15 and July 1, 2020. A formal announcement will be made in the coming weeks with the official re-open date.
Right now, The Bahamas is preparing for inter-island travel and is looking at a July 1 target date for tourism to resume.
Grenada is ready to go next month, with a plan to reopen its borders in June.
The recovery plan for the tourism sector includes developing robust health and safety protocols, increased training for all segments of the tourism sector, building safety and security infrastructure, and acquiring PPE and hygiene tools.
Hurricane Season Update
The National Emergency Planning Organization of Dominica (NEPO) convened its first meeting
The National Emergency Planning Organization of Dominica (NEPO) convened its first meeting to review the Island’s state of preparedness ahead of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
Chairman of NEPO, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, announced several measures and preparations to be undertaken based on past experiences; and in tandem with the COVID – 19 protocols and guidelines presently being adhered to by Nationals.
Among other measures, Prime Minister Skerrit announce that hurricane response plans must now include standard operating procedures for responding in an epidemic or pandemic context. The shelter committee has had to factor into its planning, the recommended physical distancing protocols which have resulted in the need for additional shelters to be identified in some instances. Shelters will also be equipped with adequate cleaning and sanitizing supplies, and proper cleaning procedures will be observed.
However, it is important for those who will need to access these shelters, take adequate precautions for their safety by securing their supply of masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers to supplement what would be available at the shelters.
Meanwhile, the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) is observing May 25th – 31st as Hurricane Preparedness Week 2020. For more details on activities kindly visit the ODM’s Facebook page throughout the week for hurricane preparedness tips at http://odm.gov.dm/press-notices/105-odm-s-hurricane-preparedness-week-2020
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Predict Busy 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a likely range of 13 to 19 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes. For more information on this year’s hurricane predictions visit https://www.noaa.gov/media-release/busy-atlantic-hurricane-season-predicted-for-2020
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:
Airlines are starting to brand their health safety initiatives:
- United on Wednesday unveiled United CleanPlus, which includes partnerships with Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic.
- The Safety from the Ground Up program, as JetBlue is calling it, includes four focus areas: healthy crew members, clean air and surfaces, more spacing and fewer touchpoints, and travel flexibility.
Virgin pushes back resumption until at least August
Virgin Atlantic will not resume flights until at least August following the announcement that the UK will introduce a 14-day quarantine period for all arrivals from June 8. The airline had intended to restart its scheduled program next month, but it said the mandatory quarantine would dampen demand for travel.
New TSA Rules Include Face Masks, Social Distancing, Non-Touch Boarding Passes, & More
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) this week announced some updates to its security screening procedures that it says will limit physical contact and keep the health and safety of its staff, and the traveling public, in mind.
The new procedures include changes to both the way officers will interact with the public and the way travelers will pass through TSA security checkpoints at airports around the United States.
TSA Administrator David Pekoske, in a release announcing the changes, said that the TSA will continue to evaluate its “security measures to make smart, timely decisions benefiting health and safety, as well as the traveler experience.”
Please visit this link https://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/New-TSA-Rules-Include-Face-Masks-Social-Distancing-Non-Touch-Boarding-Passes- for a list of changes designed to allow TSA officers to do their jobs with fewer touchpoints than before.
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.
Service Industry Officials Advised to Adopt Strategies of “Caring” Amidst Fallouts from the COVID-19 Pandemic
Work to establish a new OECS Services Regime comes at a time of uncertainty across the region, given the ongoing public health and economic responses to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As Senior Services Officials prepare to convene the 2nd Technical Working Group Meeting, priority will be given to advancing Article 26 of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre to establish a Harmonization Agenda for Trade in Services for the Fiscal Year 2020/2021.
In recognition of the impact of the pandemic on all facets of policy-making, OECS Senior Services Trade Officials attending the 1st Meeting of the Technical Working Group were advised to shape their Harmonization agenda for Trade in Services on strategies that foster a spirit of “Caring for the Caribbean.” Read more at https://pressroom.oecs.org/service-industry-officials-advised-to-adopt-strategies-of-caring-amidst-fallouts-from-the-covid-19-pandemic
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.