Jamaica Is Open
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Jamaica was among the first destinations to reopen to travelers last year and remains one of the most accessible and enticing places for Americans in 2021. The Caribbean island country was forced to put what likely would have been a record-breaking tourism year on hold in 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic but has rebounded in the months since by enacting strict protocols designed to keep both visitors and locals safe. For travelers eyeing a trip to Jamaica in the months to come, here are some important things to know.
US State Department and CDC Advice
As of January 25, 2021, the U.S. State Department is encouraging Americans to “reconsider travel to Jamaica due to health and safety measures and COVID-related conditions.” The U.S. government also advises that travelers exercise increased caution in some parts of the country due to crime. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Jamaica due to COVID-19, recommending U.S. citizens avoid travel but take precautions if they ultimately decide to, including undergoing pre-travel testing and practicing social distancing and wearing masks during travel. Visitors should also wash their hands often and monitor their health for signs of illness.
Currently, travelers from the U.S., Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Panama who are age 12 and over must present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test result in order to check-in for a flight to Jamaica. The test must be taken no more than 10 days prior to your arrival in Jamaica and needs to be administered by a medical laboratory with a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) registration or ISO 15189 certification. Click here to use the Jamaica Tourist Board’s helpful Test Date Calculator. In addition to a negative test in many cases, international travelers will need to gain travel authorization, which requires them to submit personal, health and intended stay in Jamaica information. Travelers will also need to save an electronic or printed copy of the travel authorization to show to their airline at check-in or upon boarding their flight.
U.S. visitors to Jamaica will also need to test prior to their return trip home. Fortunately, the country is increasing COVID-19 testing capacity in response to the CDC’s new requirement that all U.S.-bound air travelers produce a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of departure effective January 26, 2021.
Jamaica has established a pair of “resilient corridors” to protect visitors and citizens from COVID-19. The two corridors, which stretch along the island’s northern coast and include places like Negril, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, incorporate more than 80 percent of Jamaica’s tourism areas and only one percent of the country’s resident population. They also meet the strict COVID-19 protocols approved by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Within the resilient corridor, the tourism service delivery operators permitted to accept guests have been inspected and are compliant with the required standards of training, protective equipment and processes. All employees and guests are required to observe enhanced protocols for hand hygiene, social distancing and face-coverings in public spaces.
Talk to a Travel Advisor
Traveling to Jamaica is considerably easier with the help of a trusted travel advisor but it’s almost essential amid the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many reasons why travelers benefit when they plan and book with a travel advisor, including saving precious time and money and avoiding unnecessary stress. However, in the era of COVID-19, a qualified travel advisor can also keep you informed on the latest travel restrictions and requirements as well as come to your rescue in the event that something unexpected occurs.