UPDATE: Jamaica is open for tourists again, but only if you follow all of these rules
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Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 15 June 2020, and was updated with new information on 18 August 2020.
As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.
After three months of preventative measures designed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Jamaica reopened for tourism on 15 June. But travellers hoping to escape social distancing and face masks will not find the easy holiday they’re looking for — the country has published a 119-page guide for local hospitality procedures to prove it.
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Arriving in Jamaica
Arriving travellers must follow an “extensive” set of health screening procedures, beginning with a mandatory pre-travel health authorisation registration with a customs and immigration form between two to five days before their planned arrival date, and the government will issue a travel approval document based on those details.
As of 18 August, a new requirement has been added: All U.S. travellers must bring along negative results of a COVID-19 test, dated within 10 days of the date of arrival.
Related: Reopening guide to the Caribbean
Travellers may be denied permission to visit depending on their risk for COVID-19 transmission. Short-term business travellers are exempt from the requirements above, but must undergo rapid-result nasal swab testing upon arrival instead, and must remain quarantined until results are received.
Upon submission, your application will be “instantly” reviewed and your level of risk for COVID-19 transmission will be assessed based on your submitted details, according to the Visit Jamaica registration page.
Travellers above a certain risk threshold will be asked to avoid travelling to Jamaica at this time, while travellers under the threshold will be issued a travel approval document. Passengers must print their approval forms beforehand to show to an agent upon flight check-in or boarding. Airlines will not allow any travellers to board flights into Jamaica without proof of prior authorisation.
All incoming travellers should expect thermal temperature checks, health screenings and an interview with a health official upon arrival, and anyone who shows COVID-19 symptoms or feels ill upon arrival will be quarantined. The new 15 June policy supersedes previous measures, which required mandatory quarantine upon arrival into the country.
Upon arrival and after passing all health screenings, healthy tourists must remain within the “COVID-19 resiliency corridor” spanning the northern coastline between Negril and Portland along the main road, according to Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness. Only hotels or cottages licensed by the Tourist Board Act are permitted to host guests during this phase of reopening.
Non-Jamaican tourists who plan to travel outside of the approved tourist zone must be tested for COVID-19, and will be required to quarantine in their hotel room or intended address until test results come back. Tourists who test positive must remain in quarantine for the duration of their illness, either in their current place of shelter or at a government-designated facility.
How to get there
The cheapest flights begin at £608 round trip on Air Canada departing from London (LHR) with a stopover in Toronto (YYZ) and in Dublin (DUB) on the way back.
Where to Stay
Hilton’s Montego Bay all-inclusive resort, the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, as well as Hyatt’s all-inclusive properties Zilara Rose Hall and Hyatt Ziva, all reopen 1 July, with rates beginning around £240/night at each destination.
Related: Review of the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall
For example, If you wanted to stay at Hyatt’s Rose Hall all-inclusive it would be $295/night (about £233/night) or 25,000 World of Hyatt points/night.
Related: Reopening guide: country-by-country
Related: Reopening guide to the Caribbean
Hotels.com shows more than 1,200 hotels and guest properties on the island of Jamaica with availability during the first week of reopening, with more than 100 properties open in capital city Kingston alone. However, note that Kingston does not fall within the COVID-19 resiliency corridor designated by the government, so travellers visiting the capital city of Jamaica will have to quarantine in place until their coronavirus tests come back negative.
Most of the properties listed are guesthouses and similar housing, although major chain properties include Marriott hotels AC Hotel Kingston from $167/night (£132/night) or the Courtyard by Marriott Kingston from $205 (£162) per night. Notably, the Hyatt’s Kingston-based Trident Hotel is not yet booking guests.
Additional reporting by Clint Henderson.
Featured photo by David Neil Madden.
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