The government of Uruguay has made the tough decision to keep international borders closed a little longer, until at least October 31, in part of because the extremely high rates in neighboring nations.
Uruguay has been the most successful nation in all of Latin America to combat the spread and outbreak of Covid-19 within its borders. Even on a world stage, Uruguay’s quick action, early testing, and support from its citizens led the country to have some of the lowest rates around the globe.
Uruguay’s neighbors, Argentina and Brazil, have not fared as well and currently have the some of the highest infection rates in the world. On September 7th, Argentina recorded 9,215 new cases in just 24 hours, where Uruguay’s new case numbers for the same time period were a mere 14. With close neighbors still experiencing massive spikes, Uruguay needs more time to prepare for a safe reopening.
“We expected to arrive in September with a much more stabilized situation in the region. Argentina and Brazil are in major problems with the advance of the virus”
– said Germán Cardoso, the Uruguayan Minister of Tourism.
On September 7th the government of Uruguay announced they will be delaying the reopening of borders until at least the end of October in order to properly evaluate and plan the safest way to do so.
“What we have ahead of us is to wait for September and October to pass to evaluate in 60 days again and based on that, plan the future development of tourism.”
– said Cardoso.
Uruguay welcomes around 4 million international tourists each year, so the government finds itself in a battle between rebooting a decimated tourism industry and the health of its citizens.
The new announcement comes as a direct contradiction of the press release made by the Ministry of Tourism on August 18th, declaring Uruguay will soon be reopening for European tourists. While the government of Uruguay did not include a date when European tourists could once again enter, the minister expressed his interest in maintaining reciprocity, since the EU has included Uruguay as a nation that can visit without restrictions since July 1.
Inside the press release, the Ministry of Tourism included the expected entry rules for European Tourists:
“The entry requirements for European tourists will be the same as those required for people who are allowed to enter the country: a document certifying a negative COVID-19 test (test carried out up to 72 hours before entry), quarantine of seven days and a new test, which if negative, will allow the visitor to go sightseeing. If you test positive, you must continue with the quarantine until completing the 14 days.”
However, it now seems as if Uruguay’s plans to open a reciprocal travel bubble with the EU might also be put on hold until the end of October as well.
A signal that Uruguay is expecting to receive tourists past October 31st comes from the recent meeting between national authorities at Carrasco airport in Montevideo and American Airlines. An agreement has been made for American Airlines to resume a twice weekly direct flight from Miami to Montevideo, starting on November 5, 2020. Tickets are already available for sale on the airlines website.
“We are very excited about our return to Uruguay in November with two weekly flights between Montevideo and Miami,”
– said Gonzalo Schames, American Airlines Regional Manager, while Minister of Tourism German Cardoso added;
“We continue as a country obtaining achievements and recognitions that will add a lot to the reactivation of tourism! American Airlines anticipates return of flights to Uruguay.”
Earlier this month, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, and Chile all quietly extended their border closures for another month, until at least September 30th, due to unstable epidemiological situations.