Unlike other sunny destinations that have rushed to further strengthen their borders and reinstate now-familiar curbs on social life, Jamaica will not be announcing lockdowns this season, nor in the foreseeable future.
As one of the strictest Caribbean states when it comes to pandemic-era travel regulations, many expected Jamaica to tighten Covid mandates, especially at a time when new variants such as the Omicron and newly identified IHU wreak havoc across borders.
However, following a recent statement from the Prime Minister, this might not be the case anymore.
It’s Official: No More Lockdowns In Jamaica
Caribbean enthusiasts were positively surprised earlier this week when Jamaican Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, immediately shut down rumors any sort of lockdown would be reinstated across the island. And, judging by the Prime Minister’s choice of words, those days are gone.
During a press conference, he urged all to remain “calm” and ruled out lockdowns during this season, or even in the future, appeasing both Jamaican residents and concerned vacationers hoping to visit soon.
“I have been very clear in Parliament; very clear absolutely, gone overboard to say we are not going back to lockdowns, so be calm”, he has reportedly stated.
Still, Holness pointedly stressed the role of vaccination in the government’s decision of scrapping future lockdowns altogether, ushering islanders to get immunized.
What Does The PM’s Statement Mean For American Tourists?
Luckily for American tourists, and other foreign nationals with a trip booked to Jamaica in the near future, it seems highly unlikely new snap lockdowns will be called by national authorities.
Throughout the course of this crisis, many travelers were left deeply affected as governments imposed lockdowns and other restrictive measures at very short-notice, plunging vacation plans into chaos and dealing further blows to the travel sector.
In spite of having a stricter border policy compared to its neighbors, Jamaica’s new stance on lockdowns is sure to boost traveler confidence among Americans and Canadians, who might have been unsure whether it was a safe destination to consider at present.
In fact, Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett continued to promote Jamaica‘s tourism opportunities when interviewed by the UK’s Sky News, naming tourism as the main “driver” behind Jamaica’s economic recovery.
According to the minister, this was made possible by health and safety measures put in place nationwide, which effectively limited Covid transmission in high-traffic tourist areas.
Nevertheless, arrivals should note Covid cases are still on the rise, with the nation registering an all-time high of 6,407 new infections on January 9. In light of the recent Omicron spike, Americans should continue to follow CDC guidance on international travel for specific countries.
All international passengers are also advised to secure travel insurance that covers any Covid-related risks and treatment costs before traveling abroad, as this is an ever-evolving situation.
What Are The Rules For Traveling To Jamaica Right Now?
Rules for entering Jamaica tend to differ depending on the country you are traveling from, your passport, as well as the purpose of the visit. In general, tourists from most Western nations, including Americans, are allowed to visit visa-free upon presentation of a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of arrival.
In order to assess when the best time to take the test is, tourists are now able to use the Jamaican Tourist Board’s online calculator. They are also required to fill out a Health Travel Authorization online prior to departure, and at most 72 hours before landing.
In spite of not demanding proof of vaccination, opting instead for a testing regime, Jamaica requires all unvaccinated travelers who are not staying in the so-called “tourism corridor” to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Vaccinated tourists are exempt from any such requirement.
Visitors are also required to wear facial coverings when instructed and follow social distancing markers while in Jamaica. For more information on tourism corridors and testing mandates, please visit our page on Covid entry requirements for the country.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com