Turks and Caicos Implements New Testing Protocol — What to Know
The Caribbean islands of Turks and Caicos are implementing new testing requirements and capacity limits on places like restaurants as the destination continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new rules, which will remain in place through at least Feb. 28, will require all visitors ages 2 and older to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of travel, according to the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board. Previously, only children 10 and older had to get tested before arrival.
Travelers 16 and older are also required to show proof of vaccination to enter, and visitors must complete a health screening questionnaire. Travelers must also have medical or travel insurance that would cover medevac if needed.
"These updated protocols are a proactive response to the Omicron variant and underscore the destination's commitment to health and safety, expanding on its already vigilant travel protocols… [implemented] when Turks and Caicos opened its borders to tourists," the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board told T+L in a statement.
In addition to changing the entry protocols, Turks and Caicos will require anyone 16 or older to be fully vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 24 hours to enter restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and discotheques.
The islands have also placed restrictions on restaurants and bars, limiting capacity to 50%.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently classified Turks and Caicos as a "Level 4" destination, indicating a "very high" level of COVID-19 transmission in the community. Currently, the islands are experiencing an average of 33 new infections reported each day, according to Reuters, a decline from earlier in the month.
Those who do plan a trip to the islands should consider going between April and June to maximize their chances of having good weather (though there's never really a bad time to visit paradise).
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.