Cuba’s Reopening Plan Only Allows Tourists on Specific Small Islands, Away From Locals
Cuba’s plan to reboot tourism after its coronavirus lockdown involves sending tourists to five islands and keeping them separated from locals at all-inclusive resorts.
International visitors will only be able to visit the Cuban Keys including Cayo Largo, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, and Cayo Santa María.
Tourists will board charter flights to the islands or central Cuba, where they will immediately take COVID-19 tests. Those whose tests return negative will be able to proceed to their hotels, The Associated Press reported.
Visitors taking a bus from central Cuba will not be able to get off until they've reached their hotel and are not allowed to rent cars or take trips outside of resort areas. At each hotel, a medical team will follow up on each traveler’s health.
Hotel staff will also undergo testing, isolating themselves after working seven-day shifts. Travelers who test positive for COVID-19 will be isolated.
Commercial flights will only be allowed once Cuba enters its third phase of lifting lockdown. The U.S. Embassy in Havana said that airports will likely remain closed until August 1.
Locals will not be allowed to visit the resorts unless they are working there.
“New measures are being studied [which] will affect the maritime and air transport, accommodation and entertainment areas which will include surveillance measures not only for travelers but also people who assist them,” the Ministry of Tourism wrote in a blog post.
Many other Caribbean islands are reopening to tourists this month, although no other country has enacted rules like Cuba that separate visitors and locals.
Cuba reported a total of 2,341 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 86 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The country is now only reporting single digits of new cases per day. The only information about coronavirus in Cuba has been released by state-run media or the government. Foreign and independent journalists are not allowed to visit hospitals or funeral homes without prior authorization.