Last updated: November 13, 2020. This article will be updated as new information is provided. For more COVID-19 country re-opening and border updates, subscribe to our newsletter here or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Antigua and Barbuda’s borders were reopened pretty early in the game on June 1, 2020, and policies have since been adjusted to cope with the ever changing situation.
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There are no restrictions as to who can visit Antigua and Barbuda, but safety measures are a bit more relaxed for those traveling from other Caribbean “Travel Bubble” countries.
To revitalize travel within the Caribbean, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) developed the “Travel Bubble” concept, which would allow for relaxed travel restrictions between islands within the bubble. For instance, if you are traveling to Antigua and Barbuda from another travel bubble island, once you spent 14 days or more in the other island, there will be no need to enter a quarantine on arrival.
According to the CARICOM website, the following countries are listed as bubble participants.
The remaining CARICOM states not listed are still working to reduce their daily infections numbers and active cases in order to join the bubble.
Regardless of where you are traveling from (inclusive of those coming from another Caribbean Travel Bubble state), all guests will be required to get a negative result from a COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken within 7 days of travel to the island. Children ages 12 and under are not required to get tested.
Passengers arriving to the island can also expect to be screened (temperature scans and other checks) and may be subject to taking another PCR test (either at the airport or place of stay) if they show signs of illness. If a test is required during arrival, it will cost the traveling US $100, and they will be required to isolate at either a government facility or their place of stay depending on the circumstances until they receive their result. This can take up to 48 hours generally, but it may take as long as 96 hours depending on the work load.
Guests can also expect to take part in regular screening during quarantine (more below) which includes taking temperature checks twice a day and reporting any signs of illness.
Arriving guests will be required to fill out a health declaration form on entering the island.
By law, all persons in Antigua and Barbuda are required to wear masks in public spaces, but they can be taken of in certain conditions (e.g. when at the beach while social distancing).
The Government of Antigua and Barbuda’s Public Health Act Dangerous Infections Disease Regulations 2020, requires all residents and visitors, when out in public spaces outside of their homes including to gas stations, supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, doctors’ offices, bakeries and all other essential services, to wear masks that cover their nostrils and their mouths.
A person who fails to comply with these special measures commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of five thousand dollars ($5,000.00 XCD) or to imprisonment for six (6) months or to both such fine and imprisonment.
Masks are not mandatory while exercising or driving alone within vehicles.
Guests should also take note of curfew hours (from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.) in which only essential staff are allowed to be out in public during that time. The curfew period is expected to last until December 31, 2020.
Travelers who feel they may have COVID-19 related symptoms should either call the local health hotline (462-6843) or notify their hotel’s front desk staff as soon as possible.
Travel between Antigua and Barbuda is permitted once local health safety guidelines are followed.
Coming from the Caribbean Travel Bubble
Regardless of nationality, if you spent 14 or more days in a Caribbean nation listed under the CARICOM travel bubble, you will not be required to quarantine (unless you somehow manage to display symptoms or were exposed to someone who might have COVID-19).
Based on the results of your interview and screening at the airport, guests may either be required to self-isolate or quarantine for up to 14 days. This will be determined by officials of the Quarantine Authority. Quarantine measures do not appear to be too strict as guests most likely will be allowed to leave their resort once they practice other safety guidelines such as wearing masks and social distancing.
It is recommended that your place of stay be organized before arrival as you may be subject to state quarantine if you cannot provide this information, as per the UK’s information office:
Tourists arriving from outside the region’s “travel bubble” with pre-booked hotel accommodation from the Government of Antigua and Barbuda’s Approved List will normally be permitted to travel to their accommodation after screening and be allowed to move around the country providing they adhere to local social distancing measures. Visitors staying with family, friends, in private accommodation, in their own place of residence, or other location not on the Government of Antigua and Barbuda’s Approved List will be subject to an interview to determine suitability to leave for their accommodation arrangements and then are normally required to self-isolate for a period up to 14 days. Those not deemed to have suitable accommodation arrangements will be obliged to remain in government quarantine at their expense for between seven and 14 days.
Antigua and Barbuda has done a good job of managing the infection rate, as averages fall below 5 cases daily, with many days going by with no new reported cases. The only noticeable spike was way back in mid-June as a result of repatriation efforts.
In total, Antigua and Barbuda have reported 133 positive cases since February, with only 3 deaths noted.
[Featured Photo: Skybluesrich/Pixabay]