The Dominican Republic now joins the list of countries that have removed all pandemic-related entry requirements, becoming the 35th nation to do so.
Earlier on in 2022, the Dominican Republic had removed almost all of their covid entry requirements but kept just a few in place that still presented barriers to entry for some travelers. Notably, a random breathalyzer-type covid test was administered to unvaccinated tourists, while arrivals from a handful of countries, like the UK, still needed to bring a PCR to enter.
However, from this week, all of the entry requirements have now been officially removed. Tourists, regardless of nationality, who are not fully vaccinated against Covid are no longer subject to any testing upon arriving in the Dominican Republic, as the country fully lifts all pandemic-related restrictions at its international airports.
Although the Caribbean nation did not require Americans, Canadians, or other visitors, to present vaccination certificates or a negative pre-departure test, it did perform random tests on a percentage of passengers, especially those with classic Covid symptoms.
While vaccinated travelers could bypass testing when selected by presenting proof of vaccination, the unvaccinated were not so lucky, and those with an active infection were routinely issued quarantine orders. Now, this measure no longer applies.
Travel To The DR Is Again Stress-Free
The Dominican Republic (DR) is one of those rare destinations that welcomed tourists from all over the world during the Covid pandemic, including U.S. citizens. Even though it did enact additional restrictions, albeit proportional, when the need arose, it has remained consistently open for visitors irrespective of vaccination status.
Despite having followed Mexico‘s lead in the Caribbean, and established itself as a fellow tourist-friendly haven, the DR still exercised increased caution at its external borders, fearing that more dangerous Covid variants could be imported and put a strain on the health system.
One of those measures retained was the random PCR breath testing of unvaccinated passengers. Even though only a few of them would eventually be selected for testing, those who did could be placed in quarantine when testing positive and have their dream vacation turned into a nightmare.
For that reason, unvaccinated tourists will be delighted to know that, as of April 23, they no longer risk being picked out for testing once landing in the DR. The country’s Civil Aviation Board (JAC) rendered the measure void across all international airports, including Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata and Punta Cana.
As stated in the Resolution 99-2022, ‘random tests for rapid detection of Covid-19 for passengers and crew upon arrival in the Dominican Republic are nullified.‘ While the text mentions random testing may still be carried out when required, those will most likely apply to specific situations, including where a passenger is visibly ill or presenting obvious symptoms.
Continuing to opt for a more cautious approach, the text mentions the DR may review these measures ‘in case new actions are required to prevent the entry into Dominican territory of variants of Covid-19.’ For the moment, that seems extremely unlikely, even following the identification of the new BA.2 variant.
In summary, unvaccinated tourists from all countries can again travel stress-free to this Caribbean destination.
They may still want to minimize their risks of exposure to Covid, as contracting the virus while vacationing in the Dominican Republic will most surely entail a delayed return home. After all, the United States is one of the last countries to enforce pre-arrival testing, even for returning citizens.
This means that, while Americans can enter the DR without a negative test, they still need to submit a negative Covid test result issued up to one day before flying to their own country.
Is The DR Safe To Visit Right Now And What Restrictions Apply Once Inside The Country?
Offering a vast sandy coastline and numerous natural and cultural landmarks, this small country, which shares the famous Hispaniola island with Haiti, has been a pandemic favorite for countless travelers. While other tourist hotspots in the Caribbean imposed stricter entry requirements, the DR has always adopted a more relaxed stance.
Due to its massive popularity, even throughout the pandemic, the Dominican Republic hotspot Punta Cana is planning a huge extension of its international airport to better handle the volume of incoming tourists.
Although vaccine passes were required for entry into select venues within the country and mask usage remained the norm, these restrictions and several others have now been fully scrapped, and the country has shifted its Covid approach entirely.
As soon as February 16, it removed all Covid-related requirements, leading the way among Caribbean islands in returning to a pre-pandemic state of normality. Since then, the government has promoted ‘taking care of one’s self’ as an individual responsibility, insinuating Covid management is now in the hands of the people.
Recent infection figures are also nearly negligible, as the country currently reports an average of 48 new infections every day, or merely 1% of the January 13 peak. In other words, the Dominican Republic has not seen a dramatic Covid spike in over three months, reasserting its position as one of the safest countries in the Caribbean right now.
When visiting the DR, Americans are only required to bring their passports with them and fill out an electronic form in advance. We also advise all our readers to purchase travel insurance before flying abroad in order to be better equipped when meeting adversities.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com