by Vinicius Costa
Barbados, The Bahamas and The U.S. Virgin Islands have all recently updated their entry requirements in response to the new Omicron variant.
In spite of drawing attention recently, they are not the only Caribbean destinations to update their Covid border regime: over the last few days, a number of countries in the region has already enforced stricter rules following an uptick in infections.
As a result, vacationers are now susceptible to updated guidelines concerning testing at points of entry and/or proof of vaccination status, which are sure to impact the busy holiday season.
Here, you will find all the recent changes that have been made to the 3 highly popular sunny getaways:
Updated Entry Rules For Tourists Arriving In Barbados
From January 7, all visitors arriving in Barbados must produce a negative rapid PCR test result within one day of arrival. Or, if preferred, a negative standard RT-PCR test taken in the 72 hours preceding the border crossing.
In a recent statement, Barbados’ Ministry of Health and Wellness said to be closely monitoring the “unfolding situation” with the new variant, giving rise to speculation more changes could be applied in the near future should the scenario worsen.
When it comes to rules that apply domestically, all persons in Barbados must wear face masks at all times in public spaces, including outdoors, unless they are exercising.
Some tourists may also be required to supply contact details when entering premises and should expect their temperature to be taken. According to CDC guidance, American travelers should avoid all unnecessary travel to Barbados in order to minimize disease risk, especially if they are unvaccinated.
Updated Entry Rules For Tourists Arriving In The Bahamas
The Bahamas are the latest Caribbean destination to update its border policy in response to Omicron. Some have been welcomed by tourists, others much less so.
Shortly after announcing a tightening of the testing regime, the archipelago has already suspended the mandatory RT-PCR requirement for vaccinated travelers, which was due to come into effect on January 7.
On the other hand, those planning to stay in national territory for longer than 48 hours will still need to present a rapid antigen test in order to be granted entry, whether immunized or not.
Passengers arriving by sea should still note that, as a result of the swift Omicron spread, a growing number of Caribbean nations are enacting restrictions on cruise passengers that may impact certain itineraries.
Lastly, all visitors aged 18 and older are also required to fill apply for a pre-departure Bahamas Travel Health Visa.
Updated Entry Rules For Tourists Arriving In The U.S. Virgin Islands
Since January 3, domestic travelers to the U.S. Virgin Islands, which include arrivals from mainland U.S. cities, must present proof of a negative antigen test or RT-PCR in order to be granted entry to the territory.
The rule applies to both the vaccinated and unvaccinated, and travelers are reminded that the test must taken within 3 days prior to arrival at the destination.
Additionally, domestic travelers aged 5 and older must apply for a Travel Screening in order to enter the U.S. Virgin Islands. They should expect to include both negative test and vaccination certificate, if applicable, in the application process.
Could My Travel Plans Still Be Affected As A Result Of Omicron?
All international travelers are advised to carefully prepare for any disruption that may arise from countries imposing new testing or vaccination requirements at short notice.
Especially with Omicron, the chances of finding yourself in a difficult position after testing positive before a flight are higher than they were before.
The best advice we can give is to assure you have travel insurance that covers any Covid-related imbroglios.
We would also recommend you to check for individual country guidance, as this is an ever-evolving situation and travel rules may be eventually tightened or relaxed.