St. Lucia is easing entry requirements for US travelers — here’s what you need to know
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with recurring information. It was first published on May 20, 2020.
Local and federal governments around the globe are still recommending isolation and distancing in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Before booking that next trip, we recommend you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions. TPG is continuing to publish deals, reviews and general travel news to inform and prepare you for that trip, whether it is next month or next year.
If you’re ready to venture outside the U.S., the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia awaits you with open arms — from a healthy social distance, of course.
St. Lucia has welcomed visitors since June 4, but implemented extremely strict distancing protocols for its first phase of reopening. But beginning July 9, travelers will be able to enjoy a slightly more vacation-like experience when St. Lucia.
Here’s what you need to know.
On May 18, Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee announced a phased approach to reopening the country for tourism. During Phase One, St. Lucia only accepted visitors from the United States. “Our new protocols have been carefully crafted,” Fedee said, “and will build confidence among travelers and our citizens. The Government of Saint Lucia remains resolved to protect both lives and livelihoods as it jump-starts its economy.”
Here’s what to expect:
- Face masks and social distancing protocols are required for visitors throughout their stay.
- Taxis will implement safety precautions separating drivers from guests.
- Travelers will be able to access local health information via signs with QR codes that link to a landing page with more information.
Before you arrive
Under the new protocols, travelers must provide a negative polymerized chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test within seven days before arriving in St. Lucia. This requirement eases up on the previous restriction, which called for proof of a clean test within 48 hours of departure time.
Travelers must also complete a pre-arrival registration form stating clean health and indicating the COVID-19 certified hotel at which they will stay upon entry. This requirement goes into effect on July 9, and will be renewed after 30 days.
Certain travelers visiting from select low-risk countries are exempt from the restrictions, including:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- British Virgin Islands
- Saint Barthelemy
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Martin
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Saint Martin
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Turks and Caicos
Travelers whose visited the countries above within the past 14 days prior to entering St. Lucia will also be exempt from quarantine.
All arriving passengers will be screened for the coronavirus at the airport, including temperature checks. Travelers who hold negative PCR tests may be allowed to skip further testing, and will be allowed to pass through immigration, baggage claim, customs and arrivals.
Anyone arriving without proof of a negative PCR test must undergo immediate isolation and testing, and any symptomatic passengers will be isolated and tested further. If the test is positive, the traveler will be transferred to a government facility for quarantine and treatment until they receive two negative test results and are declared to be clinically stable.
Protocols on the ground
All safety protocols introduced for Phase One of reopening remain in place. Visitors must follow the local regulations in St. Lucia, which include wearing face masks in all public places and on all local transportation. Visitors must also abide by individual hotel safety and wellness policies.
To keep visitors informed on the island, health and safety protocols have been reinforced with new signage at airports and other public places. That includes QR codes navigating travelers to a landing page for more information and FAQs.
How to get there and where to stay
All travelers must spend the duration of their stay in St. Lucia in one of three places: Within a COVID-19 certified hotel; at a pre-approved home quarantine facility; or at a government-operated quarantine facility.
Visitors are only allowed to stay at hotels that are COVID-19 Certified. Amongst the required protocols, accommodations must:
- Sanitize luggage upon check in
- Maintain a fully equipped nurses’ station
- Observe strict detailed sanitization protocols for housekeeping
- Maintain required distance with tables for dining
- Install hand sanitizer stations throughout the property.
Sanitizing stations and showers for staff must also be installed for use prior to re-entering the public.
Hotels that have received COVID-19 Certification include Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa, Sandals Grande St. Lucian, Stonefield Resort Villas and Sugar Beach – A Viceroy Resort. Several other hotels and resorts are on track to receive certification in July. Visitors can select COVID-19 certified hotels through direct booking, tour operator or airline provider.
The full list of details from the June 4 infographic is as follows:
1. At the check-in airport, travelers can expect:
- Communication and education about the disease and safety protocols
- Must provide certified proof of COVID-19 negativity
- Must wear face masks
- Must commit to maintaining social distance throughout the trip
- Temperature screening
- All surfaces will be regularly sanitized
- Must participate in hand washing and sanitization
2. On the flight:
- Travelers and crew members all wear face masks
- Physical distancing in practice
- Minimal contact with cabin crew, including packed meals
3. At the arrival airport:
- Physical distancing
- Handwashing and sanitization
- Regular sanitization of surfaces
- Luggage sanitized on arrival
- Temperature screening (symptomatic travelers will be isolated)
- Luggage handlers in masks
- Authorized taxi only
4. At the hotel:
- Hotel will book all taxis, which must be authorized to operate with COVID-19 safety protocols in place: PPE, sanitization and social distance cashless transactions
- Hotel COVID-19 certification of operational protocols
- Limited contact check in and check out
- Guest’s temperatures checked at each meal time
- Nurse’s station on site
- Quarantine facilities
- Daily temperature checks for staff at the beginning and end of each shift
- Physical distancing
- Limited guest activities and attractions
5: At departure airport:
- Physical distancing
- Temperature screening
- Handwashing and hand sanitization
- Departure lounge rearranged to allow for social distancing
- Passport bio-page and departing flight details on hand
- Only departing guests will be allowed into terminal building
St. Lucia closed its borders to foreign travelers on March 23, and adopted shelter-in-place guidelines and other safety protocols. The country has only had 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and all patients have made a full recovery.
Nonetheless, the tourism-dependent country is still vulnerable to coronavirus exposure from outsiders as travel is one of the biggest factors in spreading COVID-19 disease. TPG recommends you speak to your doctor about the risks to yourself and others around you, and research destinations before you plan nonessential travel.
Featured photo by Getty Images.
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