Our approach to the pandemic and keeping our population safe has been lauded by many. On the whole, we’ve done very well. The current cluster infections we’re dealing with have been the first hiccup we’ve had in the past 12 months.
Strict testing and quarantine protocols for incoming visitors has meant that we’ve kept a lid on any community spread of the virus. But, I think we can all agree that the island can’t stay closed forever.
Just before the current stay-at-home orders that include border closures, the Government of Anguilla laid out a road map for a phased reopening over the next few months. While we’re in lockdown right now, we’re still optimistic that the timeline is feasible.
What the planned reopening looks like
As part of the proposed exit strategy, the changes to our entry and quarantine protocols are as follows:
Starting on April 12 – quarantine requirements for travellers fully vaccinated at least 21 days before arrival, will be reduced to 7 days. PCR tests up to 5 days before will still need to be submitted on arrival. Additional testing will be done at the beginning, and again at the end of the quarantine period.
May 1 – persons in large groups (10+ persons) will all need to be vaccinated to enter and be part of a mass gathering. A typical example would be a wedding party or business conference attendees. Frontline hospitality and transport employees will require at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
July 1 – vaccinated travellers will not be tested on arrival, although a PCR test will still need to be submitted. Travellers fully vaccinated at least 21 days before their arrival will not be required to quarantine.
October 1 – travel authorization application for entry will be removed. Travellers will still need to provide documentation of vaccination.
What this all means is that if all goes well, we should be returning as close to normal as we can be for the start of the winter travel season. We’ve already seen inquiries and bookings for travel after October increase dramatically.
Local vaccination is critical
Having a vaccinated local population is key to accomplishing all of these goals. Back in the first week of February Anguillians started receiving their first doses of COVID-19 vaccines. To date, we’ve administered vaccines to over 50% of the population, with work still ongoing.
For our reopening to be successful, the goal is to have 70% of Anguillians vaccinated by July 1.
Visitor vaccination matters
Of course, without vaccinated travellers, our plans won’t amount to much. The good news is that vaccination in key places are going well.
In the US, over 50%, or 146 million, adults have received at least one dose of a vaccine. To date, over 34 million Brits – just over 50% – have been vaccinated. In Canada, that number is just shy of 13 million, or a third of their population.
Combined, these three countries account for over 75% of all of Anguilla’s tourism arrivals each year.
A glimmer of light at the end of a very long tunnel
All of this as generally very positive news. It has been a tough 12+ months here in Anguilla, with no one unaffected. We are all breathing a little easier and looking ahead in anticipation to the months ahead, when we can start welcoming our guests and friends back here with us.
Until then, please stay safe.