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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Caribbean
Posted: June 22, 2020 at 2:49 pm
Ritz-Carlton is reopening its Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Puerto Rico next month, Caribbean Journal has learned.
The resort, the only Ritz-Carlton Reserve in the Caribbean, is relaunching on July 1.
The relaunch of what is Puerto Ricos leading luxury resort comes ahead of Puerto Ricos planned July 15 reopening for tourism.
It is the second Ritz-Carlton-branded property to reopen in the Caribbean, following the relaunch of the Ritz-Carlton, St Thomas, which began welcoming back visitors to the US Virgin Islands this week.
The 115-room-and-suite resort has reopened with parent company Marriott Internationals new cleanliness practices.
The resorts signature golf course has been open for several weeks already.
We are thrilled to once again welcome our beloved guests toDoradoBeach, said George Sotelo, General Manager. Our team of dedicated Ladies and Gentlemen have been hard at work preparing for our reopening and are excited to introduce guests to new handcrafted, memorable experiences while maintaining the sense of barefoot elegance and personalized service for which we are known.
In the age of COVID-19, the resort is emphasizing that each of the rooms and suites is accessible from the outdoors; many of the units have their own private plunge pools, and all of them have direct beach access, allowing ample space for physical distancing.
Puerto Rico officials say the destination is implementing major health and safety protocols island-wide ahead of the tourism reopening.
We mean it when we say we want to aim for a gold standard in health and safety. All tourism-related businesses must comply and practice the guidelines included in this comprehensive program, said Carla Campos, executive director of the Puert The PRTC will also inspect and certify over 350 hotels and operators over the next four months that must comply with these standards. We are certain that the assurances and security these measures provide, coupled with the experiences that makePuertoRicosuch an attractive destination, will play a vital role in the short-term recovery of the travel industry of the island.
For more, visit Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.
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Posted: at 2:49 pm
Virgin Atlantic will restart passenger flights to 17 additional destinations from August.
The new destinations include Barbados, Antigua, Shanghai, San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Miami, Lagos, Boston, Johannesburg and Tobago.
Virgin has also once again called on the UK government to end its quarantine measures.
Juha Jarvinen, chief commercial officer said: As countries around the world begin to relax travel restrictions, we look forward to welcoming our customers back onboard and flying them safely to many destinations across our network. From August onwards, we will resume passenger flying to 17 additional destinations around the world including Tel Aviv, Miami, Lagos and San Francisco.
However, we are monitoring external conditions extremely closely, in particular the travel restrictions many countries have in place including the 14 day quarantine policy for travellers entering the UK.
"We know that as the Covid-19 crisis subsides, air travel will be a vital enabler of the UKs economic recovery.
"Therefore, we are calling for UK Government to continually review its quarantine measures and instead look at a multi-layered approach of carefully targeted public health and screening measures, including air bridges, which will support a successful and safe restart of international air travel for passengers and businesses.
Virgin timetable for restarts
The airline has previously said services to Orlando and Hong Kong from Heathrow would resume on July 20, with flights to New York JFK, Los Angeles, and Shanghai set to restart on July 21.
The airline will enhance its cleaning practices at check-in and onboard, and provide medical-grade face masks for passengers to wear onboard.
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Posted: at 2:49 pm
Mission accomplished! That joyful declaration came from Juan Manuel Ballestero, an Argentine sailor who, unable to fly home from Portugal due to the pandemic, crossed the ocean alone in his modest sailboat to see his ageing parents.
I did it! I did it! I did it! Ballestero exclaimed at dockside last week when he reached his hometown of Mar del Plata.
The 47-year-old had completed an exhausting 85-day odyssey in his small boat, the nine-meter Skua.
After testing negative for Covid-19 on arrival, Ballestero was cleared to set foot on dry land to see his mother 82-year-old Nilda and father Carlos, aged 90.
Ive achieved what Ive been fighting for these last three months, he told AFP. It came down to this: to be with the family. Thats why I came.
He had hoped to arrive in Argentina by May 15, for his fathers 90th birthday. He missed that date, but instead was able to celebrate Fathers Day with his family.
Ballestero, who works in Spain, hatched his ambitious plan for a single-handed sea passage after flights back to Argentina were canceled because of the pandemic.
He learned during the long trip home that people were dying every day, by the thousands, a jarring realization at a time when he was in the middle of nature, seeing how the world goes on.
There were dolphins and whales... even as humanity was passing through this difficult moment.
For 54 long days, his family had no word from him.
But we knew he was going to come, said a smiling Carlos. We had no doubt. He was coming to Mar del Plata to be with his parents.
The coronavirus has claimed 1,000 lives in Argentina, many of them elderly people like Carlos and his wife.
The younger Ballesteros first stop on the 12,000-kilometer trip was at Vitoria, Brazil; the last one before arrival was in La Paloma, Uruguay.
The Skua now sits docked at the Mar del Plata nautical club, and probably wont be leaving soon. Ballestero has no immediate travel plans.
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Posted: at 2:49 pm
NASSAU, Bahamas, Jun 20, CMC A new survey conducted by the audit, tax and advisory firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), has found that the greatest concern for Caribbean businesses is a new wave of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The sixth COVID-19 CFO Pulse Survey, which was conducted between June 1-11, involved 989 chief financial officers (CFO) in 23 countries including over 40 CFOs in the Caribbean.
The majority of CFOs surveyed in the Caribbean expect COVID-19 to decrease revenue/profits by 10 per cent.
Most Caribbean CFOs (70 per cent as compared to 63 per cent globally) cite offering new or enhanced products or services as most important to rebuilding or enhancing their revenue streams. None are considering making cuts to digital transformation or cybersecurity.
As Bahamians begin to return to the workplace, organisation's need to consider how they will support employees to adapt to new working conditions and realities, which may range from adjusting to reconfigured office layouts to the adoption of new behaviours designed to promote safety, said Prince Rahming, PwC Bahamas territory leader.
Only about a third of Caribbean region CFOs say they are very confident about their companys ability to manage their employees well-being and morale, yet these are factors that may significantly affect productivity and possibly the pace of future economic recovery, he added.
PwC Bahamas advisory partner, Kevin Cambridge, said given the current economic landscape, organisations are seeing the need now more than ever to implement an effective digital strategy to leverage the benefits of technology.
Equally important is the need to ensure that robust human capital engagement remains aligned as the driving force to achieve desired corporate goals.
According to the survey, 77 per cent of Caribbean CFOs say they are implementing cost containment, while 50 are considering deferring or cancelling planned investments as a result of COVID-19.
However, 32 per cent say in the next month they expect a productivity loss due to lack of remote work capabilities, while 34 per cent say in the next month they expect a change in staffing due to low/slow demand .
Most are very confident that on return to the workplace, they can meet customers safety expectations, while 82 per cent are very confident they can provide clear response and shut-down protocols if COVID-19 cases in their area rose significantly or if there was a second wave of infections.
A significant number of Caribbean CFOs (77 per cent) say the current work flexibility will make the company better in the long run while 59 per cent say the current situation has resulted in better resiliency and agility which will make the company better in the long run.
Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us email@example.com@gleanerjm.com.
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Why Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Stocks Just Got Torpedoed and Are Going Down – Motley Fool
Posted: at 2:49 pm
America's cruise lines are extending their involuntary corona-cation -- but this time they're doing so voluntarily.
Just before 2 p.m. Friday, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the trade association representing Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL) (NYSE:CUK), Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL), and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NASDAQ:NCLH), among others, announced that "the association's ocean-going cruise line members will voluntarily extend the suspension of cruise operations from U.S. ports until 15 September 2020."
As of 2:25 p.m. EDT, shares of Carnival stock are down 5.1%, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is down 5.8%, and Royal Caribbean is suffering worst of all -- down 6.3%.
Image source: Getty Images.
If you recall, it was way back in April that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last extended its no-sail order forbidding cruise ships from sailing out of U.S. ports before July 24. To date, the CDC has not updated or extended that order.
Regardless, observing that "it is increasingly clear that more time will be needed to resolve barriers to resumption in the United States," CLIA members have agreed "to err on the side of caution" and "further extend our suspension of operations from U.S. ports until 15 September."
This "extension of suspension" will come at a cost. According to CLIA, each day the cruise industry remains shut down costs the U.S. economy about $110 million "in economic activity."
More pertinently to cruise line investors, though, Norwegian Cruise says it is burning through cash at the rate of $110 million to $150 million each month, and has probably fewer than 10 months of cash left to it. Royal Caribbean is burning $250 million to $275 million per month during its shutdown, and Carnival just revealed a $650 million-a-month burn rate. And now, according to CLIA, each of these cruise lines can expect to keep burning cash for nearly two months longer than the most optimistic scenario for their respective returns to service.
Long story short? We all probably suspected that the CDC would extend its no-sail order eventually, and that cruise lines would have to remain out of service for longer than that optimistic July 24 scenario.
Now, sadly, that out-of-service suspicion has been confirmed, even if it didn't actually come at the behest of the CDC.
Posted: June 17, 2020 at 1:28 am
An outbreak of dust from the Sahara Desert could spread to the Caribbean by this weekend, and it might reach the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the United States next week.
Known as the Saharan Air Layer (SAL), this dry dust plume commonly forms from late spring through early fall and moves into the tropical Atlantic Ocean every three to five days, according to NOAA's Hurricane Research Division (HRD).
You can see in this animation from Tuesday how an expansive area of dust has moved from Africa to the central and eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean.
Saharan dust tracks as far west as the Caribbean Sea, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico each year a 5,000-mile-long journey. The dust particles can contribute to hazy skies at times during the summer in the Caribbean Islands, South Florida, the Florida Keys and the U.S. Gulf Coast. The dust can also cause toxic algal blooms in the Gulf of Mexico, according to NASA.
The HRD says the Saharan Air Layer is typically located between 5,000 and 20,000 feet above the Earth's surface. It is transported westward by bursts of strong winds and tropical waves located in the central and western Atlantic Ocean at altitudes between 6,500 and 14,500 feet.
The National Weather Service in Puerto Rico noted on Monday that a weak Saharan Air Layer was creating hazy skies and providing dry air to their area early in the week.
By later this week and especially this weekend, a more concentrated area of dust is expected to spread toward the Caribbean. You can see this in the forecast below from NASA's GEOS-5 model, which shows an expansive area of dust moving into the Caribbean by Sunday.
That dust might ultimately reach the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the United States by early next week.
The National Weather Service in Houston mentioned that their area could see red skies at sunrise and sunset next week because of the dust. This could also happen on other parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast, depending on the exact path of the dust and how much of it spreads that far west.
Given the SAL is most common during hurricane season, research has been done on how it can affect the development of tropical storms and hurricanes. According to NOAA, some of the potential impacts to tropical development caused by the SAL include:
- The dry air can create downdrafts (sinking air) around tropical storms and hurricanes, which may result in the weakening of tropical cyclones.
- Strong winds associated with the SAL can contribute to increased vertical wind shear the change in wind speed with height which makes the environment hostile for tropical cyclone development.
- The role dust plays in tropical storm and hurricane intensity is not known. However, some research says it might impact cloud formation.
The early part of hurricane season is typically quiet in the tropical Atlantic. But this outbreak of dust along with unfavorable upper-level winds will likely put a lid on any significant tropical development in the near-term future.
The Weather Companys primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.
Posted: at 1:28 am
Craving a beach vacation? Mexico and the Caribbean are slowly but surely reopening.
Whenever tragedy befalls an area that relies on tourism to keep its economy humming, the best way to jumpstart that area again is simple: more tourism. After Hurricanes Irma and Maria roared through the Caribbean in 2017, leaving behind an estimated $157 billion in damages, the quickest road to recovery was visitors arriving the following spring, to sleep, eat and spend money in Anguilla, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
In the age of COVID-19, though, the way forward isnt so clear. GDP losses in the Caribbean and Mexico have been catastrophic, and even the regions Small Island Developing States (a U.N. designation) have seen billions of dollars in losses this year. There has been no easy fix; Americans are understandably wary of overseas travel, and even for those willing to take the risk, international flights have been an unreliable, overly expensive mess for weeks now, with unprecedented percentages of routes cancelled and planes grounded.
There are some emerging signs, though, that some of the Western Hemispheres most popular vacation spots might be opening up and airline service is responding in kind. Consider the June opening dates of a number of Caribbean islands, including U.S. Virgin Islands (June 1), Antigua and Barbuda (June 4), St. Lucia (June 4), Aruba (June 15), Jamaica (June 15) and St. Barths (June 22). As Frommers details, the specifics of reopening are unique to each island, but in general, self-quarantine periods are being replaced with health screenings and temperature checks. Some nations, like the Bahamas, are enforcing face masks. In Aruba and St. Lucia, hotels are being held to increased hygiene standards. To enter St. Barths, visitors must show the results of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the trip.
It all adds unwanted complications to island life, but thats a price many travelers are willing to pay. And airlines, desperate in their own way, know it. American Airlines, Air Canada, JetBlue and Southwest are all ramping up routes in the month of June. Other islands to keep an eye on for July reopenings include Barbados, Grenada, St. Martin, and Turks and Caicos. Mexico is technically open to American travelers if they arrive by sea or air, but popular resort areas like Los Cabos and Quintana Roo have tabled their reopening plans for now, following a recent wave of fresh cases.
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Posted: at 1:28 am
After more than two months of watching their tourism-dependent economies get decimated by the coronavirus amid airport, beach and hotel closures, Caribbean nations are starting to reopen their borders to tourists again.
But the experience wont look anything like the one visitors may have had six months ago. Traveling during the global COVID-19 pandemic will now mean health and safety protocols for hoteliers and tour operators and uncertainty for airlines as island governments demand face masks, temperature checks and COVID-19 testing for passengers some even before boarding.
There is an expectation that if you are staying in the territory and you feel you have some of the known symptoms for the coronavirus, you report immediately to the government powers that be and then begin self-quarantine, said Joseph Boschulte, commissioner of tourism for the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Last week, the U.S. territory, which never officially closed its airports, relaunched its tourism brand by inviting travelers to once more come visit. As the pandemic hit in March, USVI Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. closed the islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John to all visitors and banned hotels, guesthouses and bed-and-breakfasts from accepting new guests.
Now the islands are trying to lure them back and hoping temperature screenings at the airport and mandatory face masks and social distancing, along with the health and safety protocols for businesses, will be enough.
Eventually, you have to make some steps to try and stimulate your economy. What you do to prepare is key and we are putting the necessary mitigation in place, Boschulte said. The governor has said it very clearly, If we see a sharp spike, well shut back down.
While the virus has mostly been contained in the English-speaking Caribbean, reopening airports and cruise ports remain a thorny matter as countries try to figure out how to balance lives with livelihoods. The region is the worlds most dependent on tourism, and, after months of closed airports, a number of carriers have announced the resumption of some service for the summer pending the lifting of restrictions on border closures.
The director of the Pan American Health Organization, Dr. Carissa Etienne, cautioned nations that opening up too quickly risks a resurgence of COVID-19 that could erase the advantage gained over the past few months.
To mitigate against a surge, a number of Caribbean countries are turning to testing.
Already a requirement for travelers to Haiti and the Bahamas, which will begin allowing boaters and private-plane charters Monday and international commercial flights on July 1, a negative COVID-19 real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test is also being required in St. Lucia.
The eastern Caribbean island reopened its airport last week, restricting visitors to those from the United States for now, and requiring a certified negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of boarding.
Antigua and Barbuda, which also reopened, had hoped to have the airlines administer a rapid test to passengers before boarding, but now says its health officials will do so upon arrival, although everyone will need to fill out a health form.
Whether the new protocols will be enough to lure tourists back remains to be seen, as industry officials concede that safety will be a top priority for consumers and the region should expect to see a different kind of visitor.
The ability for Caribbean countries to remain closed indefinitely is not realistic, said Anton Edmunds, St. Lucias ambassador to the United States. Its beyond tourists. Its everything else that comes with travel. Its everybody who comes in and out of a country; I am dealing with nationals, folks in the diaspora who want to go home for funerals.
Laura Masvidal, a spokeswoman with American Airlines, said St. Lucias negative COVID-19 test requirement is the reason why the airlines have delayed returning to the island until July 7. The airlines, she said, arent responsible for the enforcement.
American Airlines, however, will require all of its passengers to wear face coverings while onboard and, in the case of Antigua travelers, it will hand out health forms at the boarding gate. Antiguas Port Health will collect the forms after customers deplane.
In Antigua, passengers can bring their own COVID-19 certificate, take a rapid test upon arrival or they can also arrive without a test as long as they remain exclusively in their hotel during their stay, Masvidal said.
Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Brown said the bottom line is that countries will have to learn to live with COVID-19. Visiting the eastern Caribbean island will not only mean staying at a hotel but being subjected to a rapid COVID test.
Visitors who test positive will be isolated and treated at an infectious disease control center the twin-island nation has fully equipped with ventilators and other medical equipment to treat patients who get critically ill from COVID-19. We believe that with the continued vigilance and personal responsibility of our people, that we will continue to be successful in containing the disease, Brown said.
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Latin America & the Caribbean countries need to spend more and better on health to be better able to face a major health emergency like COVID-19…
Posted: at 1:28 am
16/06/2020 Health spending in Latin America & the Caribbean (LAC) was about USD 1,000 per person in 2017, only of what was spent in OECD countries (adjusted for purchasing power). At the same time, health systems capacity is also considerably lower, including the ability to provide access to services of good quality to the most vulnerable groups. In addition, much is left to to be done to improve efficiency, effectiveness and targeting of health spending. While the LAC region is struggling to respond to the major challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, a serious reflection is needed not only on how to secure more funding but also on how to spend resources better, according to a new joint OECD World Bank report, the first Health at a Glance publication entirely dedicated to the LAC region.
Health at a Glance: Latin America & the Caribbean 2020 says that total health expenditure across LAC countries is 6.6% of GDP, lower than the 8.8% in OECD countries. Spending varied from 1.1% in Venezuela to up to 11.7% in Cuba and 9.2% in Uruguay in 2017.
Government spending and compulsory health insurance represent an average of 54.3% of total health spending in LAC, significantly lower than the 73.6% in the OECD. This shows that health systems in the LAC region are heavily dependent on out-of-pocket expenditures or supplemental private insurance from households. Honduras, Haiti and Guatemala have the highest proportions of private spending, while Cuba and Costa Rica have the lowest.
Health systems in LAC have fewer resources and less capacity than OECD countries to confront the COVID-19 pandemic. The LAC region has an average of two doctors per 1,000 population, and most countries stand well below the OECD average of 3.5, with only Cuba, Argentina and Uruguay having more. The average number of hospital beds in LAC is 2.1 per 1,000 population, that is less than half of the OECD average of 4.7. Barbados, Cuba and Argentina have more hospital beds than the OECD average, whereas the stock is below one hospital bed per 1,000 population in Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Moreover, according to data gathered just before the COVID-19 pandemic started, there were just 9.1 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) average beds per 100,000 population in 13 LAC countries, which is much lower than the 12 ICU average beds per 100,000 population found in OECD countries. Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina are above the LAC average, while the lowest ratios are observed in Costa Rica and El Salvador.
Health at a Glance: LAC 2020 highlights that poor allocation of health spending is slowing down, if not halting, progress towards universal health coverage in LAC. For example, weak health information systems are a major impediment. Across 22 LAC countries, an average of 10% of all deaths are never reported in public mortality databases. This means a reliable picture of population health is often missing. According to the Global Corruption Barometer, 42% of respondents across 12 LAC countries considered that there were corruption problems in the health sector. Most LAC countries have parallel health sub-systems with multiple and overlapping mechanisms of governance, financing and service provision, making it hard to steer resources to where they are most needed in an efficient way.
The report also highlights how quality of care in LAC is often poor. Twelve out of the 33 LAC countries fall short of attaining the minimum immunisation levels recommended by the WHO to prevent the spread of diphteria, tetanus and pertussis (90% of the target population) and 21 out of 33 fail to meet this target for measles (95% of the target population). This indicates the difficulties that countries are likely to have in making a future COVID-19 vaccine available for the whole population. Among six LAC countries with available data, women with early diagnosis for breast cancer had a 78% probability of surviving at least five years, while in adults with colon cancer it was 52% and for rectal cancer it was 46%, which are all much lower than the 85%, 62% and 61% survival rates observed in OECD countries.
Finally, the publication identifies key critical risk factors for poor health in LAC. Eight percent of children under the age of 5 and 28% of adolescents are overweight. This figure increases to over 53% among adult men and to more than 61% among adult women. Obesity increases the risk of chronic disease, and can also lead to complications and death in patients infected by COVID-19. Moreover, nearly one in four men and close to one in ten women aged 15 and above smoke daily. Smoking rates among children aged between 13 and 15 years old are 15% for boys and 12% for girls. Although average alcohol consumption in LAC is lower than in the OECD, it has increased by 3% between 2010 and 2016. Almost 35% and 22% of road traffic accidents among men and women, respectively, can be attributed to alcohol consumption.
Health at a Glance: Latin America & the Caribbean 2020 is available from June 16 at http://www.oecd.org/health/health-at-a-glance-latin-america-and-the-caribbean-2020-6089164f-en.htm.
World Bank Group Response to COVID-19 (coronavirus)
The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. We are increasing disease surveillance, improving public health interventions, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. Over the next 15 months, we will be deploying up to $160 billion in financial support to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery, including $50 billion of new IDA resources in grants or highly concessional terms.
Working with over 100 countries, the OECD is a global policy forum that promotes policies to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.
Posted: at 1:28 am
The Caribbeans most glamorous destination is reopening for tourism, Caribbean Journal has learned.
The French Caribbean island of St Barth is reopening for travel and tourism on June 22, according to Bruno Magras, president of the islands territorial council.
Whether you are visiting an island friend or local resident, returning to spend time in your vacation home or coming back to spend some vacation time on the island, St Barth is pleased to welcome you back, Magras said.
Magras said life on the island has returned to normal.
Island beaches are open without restriction, restaurants and boutiques are operating as usual, houses of worship are open and holding services and nautical services as well as the other services to which you are accustomed are being provided as usual, he said.
Thats due to early, aggressive action to lock down the island in the early days of the pandemics spread, and now it means St Barth is open for business.
The island has implemented new COVID-19 protocols for incoming travelers, however.
Every visitor to the island will be asked to provide a COVID-negative RT-PCR test performed within three days prior to the visitors departure.
If its not possible to arrange a test prior to departure, visitors will be required to be tested for COVID-19 within 24 hours of arrival.
Until test results are known, visitors will be required to observe strict quarantine in their villa or hotel room during which time interaction is limited to only those traveling in your party.
Test results will take less than 24 hours to be released, Magras said. For those staying on the island for more than seven days, a second RT-PCR test will be required on Day 7. (Children under the age of 10 do not require a test).
The islands villas and resorts are beginning to reopen, most notably the Hotel Le Toiny, the first hotel on the island to announce its reopening, along with the popular Les Ilets de la Plage beachfront resort in St Jean.
Of course, leading villa companies like WIMCO and St Barth Properties are also reopening their properties for travelers.
And the best ways to get there from the United States remains flying luxury carrier Tradewind Aviation via San Juan.
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