Jamaica has announced it will reopen its borders for international travelers on June 15. The country is currently repatriating 8,000 Jamaican nationals who have been stranded overseas due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions.
Additionally, an extensive set of operational protocols were announced, including health screening before entry and upon entry, which will be implemented to manage risks to workers, communities and travelers. From planning the trip to enjoying the destination, the protocols address all stages of the visitors journey, incorporating the lifecycle of prevention, detection and response.
Safety is paramount to a resilient and sustainable tourism sector. As the nation’s largest economic engine, Jamaica’s tourist industry employs 130,000 workers, and impacts an additional 120,000 jobs from other industries (water, agriculture, power, among others), fueling more than one third of the country’s economy.
“Tourism is the lifeblood of our local economy, and with the help of international experts and a dedicated task force, we have developed protocols that allow us to safely reopen our borders,” said Donovan White, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism. “We are confident that as we restart our economy, Jamaicans will work together to ensure a safe, secure and seamless experience for our tourism workers, their families, and visitors, while preserving the authentic experiences travelers seek when they visit our shores.”
The Jamaican government worked closely with international partners to develop the public health-focused tourism protocols, which were designed based on benchmarks globally to include nearly 20 markets in the Caribbean, as well as global health agencies. Protocol development also included extensive consultation with local government agencies including Ministries of Health & Wellness, National Security and Foreign Affairs as well as private sector, unions, and international partners within and beyond the tourist industry including the World Travel & Tourism Council, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The World Bank, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and development finance banks.
Through June 14, Jamaicans returning to the island will undergo temperature checks and a screening with public health officials. They will need to quarantine at home for 14 days and monitored with phone or wristband geofencing.
After June 15, all visitors and Jamaicans arriving in the island will be tested for COVID-19. This is a reversal of the initial decision that was taken by the Government for tourists to only submit to voluntary testing.
Jamaica’s health and safety protocols will be revisited every two weeks, which is consistent with the government’s approach of evaluating the COVID-19 global situation. As more is discovered about the virus including medical advancements or as the risk profile changes, Jamaica will make any necessary and appropriate revision to the protocols.