With each island enacting social distancing guidelines and various lockdown rules, the spread of the coronavirus in the Caribbean has slowed significantly, with several countries reporting no new cases as of mid-May. Many islands’ borders remain closed, but life is slowly returning to normal as restaurants, beaches, and hotels open up. In some cases, intra-island flights are set to resume the first week of June. With much of the region’s income coming from tourism, the economic impact of the pandemic will likely be felt for years to come. Read on for more information on various Caribbean islands’ border closures, quarantine procedures, and reopening plans.
It has been more than 45 days since Anguilla has had a positive COVID-19 test, and the island nation began easing lockdown restrictions on April 27. That said, Anguilla’s ports remain closed to visitors and returning citizens through May 31 at the earliest.
Antigua & Barbuda
After denying entry to travelers from China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, Japan, Korea, and Singapore, Antigua & Barbuda closed its international airport to commercial flights on March 26. Airlines have the option to fly empty planes to the country to return visitors to their home countries. Antigua & Barbuda entered a state of emergency on March 28 and had a strict curfew in place until May 14. There have not been any updates since May 14.
Aruba began enforcing social distancing restrictions on March 16. The country is currently still under lockdown though businesses are beginning to reopen. Air travel to Aruba was grounded on April 19 and will remain grounded through May 31. The Government of Aruba plans to open the country to visitors between June 15 and July 1. Businesses will have to meet specific health and safety standards, called the Aruba Health & Happiness Code, to welcome visitors; approved businesses will have a gold certification seal.
International and inter-island commercial travel in the Bahamas is prohibited until May 30, excluding repatriation flights. The nation entered lockdown in March, and currently, all islands are in phase 1B of the five-phase reopening plan, and some islands are entering phase two. International travel and tourist services are included in phase five. In a May 17 address, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis set July 1 as the target date for resuming commercial travel though that goal date may change.
While Barbados enacted stringent social distancing measures, it never established an official travel ban. However, commercial air traffic is suspended until June 30 with no set date on when airlines will resume flights. Since March 22, any arrivals from must quarantine. Barbadian residents can self-quarantine while visitors will have to quarantine in a government facility. On the island, many nonessential businesses and services are open for business, though there are strict restrictions in place, including a nightly curfew until May 31 from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Only residents of Bermuda are permitted to enter the country until further notice. Air service to the airport ended March 20, and only essential cargo ships are allowed in the port. Bermuda entered phase two of its reopening plan on May 21.
Bonaire’s restricted travel to residents only on March 17, and the travel ban was extended to June 15. There is a repatriation flight scheduled on May 31 for U.S. citizens, departing from Aruba. Stranded travelers in Bonaire should contact the U.S. Consulate immediately for assistance.
British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands closed its borders on March 19 to all travelers, and they are not expected to reopen for tourism until at least mid-August. The country began to open internally at the end of April and has established a few phases for doing so.
The Cayman Islands’ airports closed on March 22 to all incoming international travelers, and that closure was recently extended until August 31, 2020. Cruise ship arrivals were banned as of March 16, and that ban was also recently extended to August 31. Only returning residents are allowed to enter the country and are then placed under a 14-day quarantine. Travel between the islands is also currently prohibited.
Cuba closed its borders to non-Cuban citizens on March 20 and suspended all international flights to and from the country on April 2. On May 13, the latter was extended until at least June 30. Face masks are required within the country, and social distancing is recommended.
Curacao relaxed its “shelter in place” order as of May 8, but it still has curfew regulations throughout the country. Curacao International Airport also remains closed to all foreign visitors.
In a statement made by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit on May 17, the country had no active cases of COVID-19, and some restrictions were lifted beginning May 18. All travel to the country by foreign visitors is still suspended until further notice.
Phase one of the country’s reopening began on May 20 with a national curfew extended until June 1; however, the borders remain closed to foreign visitors until June 2. Masks are required in all public spaces.
Grenada also closed its borders in March to contain the spread of the coronavirus, and the borders remain closed; however, it was announced that the country might reopen to visitors in June if the government determines it can do so safely.
Guadeloupe suspended all international flights to the country for 30 days starting on March 18, 2020. As Guadeloupe is a French territory, all arrivals to the country are subject to the same restrictions and quarantine guidelines as France.
Jamaica’s borders are closed through May 31, 2020. A curfew is currently imposed through that date as well. All airports and seaports have been closed to international travelers since March 21, and non-residents have been barred from entering the country since March 22, 2020.
On March 21, the government issued a decree that international flights between France and Martinique were banned, effective March 23 through April 15, 2020, and the country closed its borders. Hotels were instructed to close as guests departed and did not allow any further new guests.
With no new cases of the virus, Montserrat will begin a gradual reopening on May 25, 2020, starting with restaurants, churches, busses, and taxis. However, the borders will remain closed indefinitely.
Puerto Rico topped more than 2,900 cases of COVID-19 in early May but will begin to cautiously reopen beaches and some businesses on Tuesday, May 26. A curfew will remain in place from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., and masks will be required in public. All incoming flights are currently limited to Puerto Rico’s main international airport.
St. Barts had confirmed six cases of COVID-19 within the country. Beginning May 11, it kicked off a deconfinement plan, not unlike the policies of France and other French-Caribbean islands. Still, international flights are banned, and borders are closed for now.
St. Kitts & Nevis
St. Kitts and Nevis closed its borders entirely on April 28. Still, they previously had banned travelers from China, Iran, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, the European Union, Switzerland, the U.K., the U.S., and the Dutch and French territories in the Caribbean. A nightly curfew is in effect, and face masks are required in public.
St. Lucia is planning a phased reopening, starting June 4. During Phase One, airports will be open; arriving passengers must have their temperatures checked, luggage sanitized, and immigration forms and customs declarations already completed. Several certified hotels will be open, as will some shops. Restaurants are open for pick-up and delivery only, and attractions are closed. Those who do not stay at a certified hotel must undergo a 14-day quarantine. Taxis will be available at this time, though car rentals will not be. Phase Two is scheduled to begin Aug. 1.
St. Martin has been restricting flights to Princess Juliana International Airport (TNCM) since March 17. Exceptions will be granted to cargo, repatriation, and charter flights. All residents will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
St. Vincent & Grenadines
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has kept all airports and seaports open, though travelers from Iran, China, South Korea, Italy, the U.S., the U.K., and all E.U. countries are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Anyone who enters the country will be given a COVID-19 hotline number and is expected to report any symptoms. American Airlines will resume service to the islands on July 4.
Trinidad & Tobago
As of March 22, Trinidad & Tobago’s borders are closed to travelers, including nationals. Trinidad & Tobago is currently in Phase 1 of its reopening plan. Restaurants are open for curbside pick-up and delivery, and restricted outdoor exercise is permitted. Phase 2 is set to begin on May 24.
Turks & Caicos
Turks & Caicos initiated Phase 2 of its reopening plan the week of May 11. International flights have been suspended (with some exceptions), while the Grand Turk Cruise Center is set to reopen on June 30. A nighttime curfew has been issued from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. through May 25.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Airports in the U.S. Virgin Islands are open, though tourists are encouraged to stay home, and all arriving travelers are encouraged to monitor symptoms for 14 days. The Territory is in its “Safer At Home” phase of its five-tiered reopening plan. Beaches and golf courses are open, as are restaurants (for take-out and delivery only) while bars and nightclubs are closed. The fourth tier, Open Doors, is set for June 1, when hotels can begin to accept reservations and restaurants may seat customers.
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Government of Antigua and Barbuda. “Essential Services - Antigua and Barbuda Curfew - April 23 to May 14.” April 22, 2020
Government of Aruba. “Decisions Taken by the Government of Aruba.” May 18, 2020
U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas. “Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Nassau, The Bahamas.” May 18, 2020
Office of the Prime Minister. “National Address - May 17, 2020.” May 17, 2020
Barbados Government Information Service. “Resuming Commercial Air Traffic Based On Data Not Date.” May 20, 2020
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Cayman Islands Government. “Government's Response To COVID-19.” May 20, 2020
U.S. Embassy in Cuba. “COVID-19 Information.” May 13, 2020
Guadeloupe Islands. “Coronavirus Update.” March 17, 2020
La Martinique. “Martinique Takes Aggressive Measures Against COVID-19.” March 20, 2020
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Government of Saint Lucia. “COVID-19 and Saint Lucia.”
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U.S. Embassy in Trinidad & Tobago. “Details of Phased Re-Opening in Trinidad and Tobago.” May 11, 2020
U.S. Virgin Islands. “U.S. Virgin Islands COVID-19 Update.” May 14, 2020