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, a 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.
Safety is paramount to a resilient and sustainable tourism sector, according to the Jamaica Tourist Board. 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.
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, 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 will be screened via thermal temperature checks and symptom observation. If a temperature is elevated, the visitor will be subject to additional screening, including testing, if needed. Any visitor who exhibits symptoms or is ill will be subject to quarantine.
Jamaica’s health and safety protocols will be revisited every two weeks. 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.