Dominican Republic opened its borders for international tourists
eTN Podcasts: www.livestream.travel
The Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic (MITUR) opened its borders for international tourists on 1 July 2020 at the start of Phase 4 of the de-escalation process of the measures announced by the High-Level Commission for the Prevention and Control of Coronavirus.
“The Dominican tourism industry is now open and receiving visitors in a responsible manner and complying with the recommendations of national and international organizations on hygiene, disinfection and social distancing,” said the Minister of Tourism, Francisco Javier García.
“From the moment visitors arrive in our country, they will find that the measures implemented guarantee a safe and pleasant experience so that they can enjoy the attractions that have made us the main tourist destination in the Caribbean,” he added.
To help both consumers and trade who are looking to capitalize on this re-opening and plan ahead a new Dominican Republic Travel Resource Center, has been launched. The resource is an initiative designed to deliver accurate, up to date information to future visitors and answer frequently asked travel questions. The platform allows visitors to listen to COVID-19 industry updates from trusted sources and provides live chat assistance for any questions that they might have.
In an effort to ensure safe and efficient air travel to the country, additional protocols will be implemented at airports. This begins with upon arrival, all passengers will have their temperature checked as they disembark the plane. If a passenger registers a temperature above 100.6 F degrees or presents any other symptoms, airport authorities will administer a rapid COVID-19 test and initiate the protocols for isolation and treatment of the case. In addition, airport terminals have established guidelines requiring social distancing as well as the mandatory use of face masks for employees and passengers. As part of immigration and customs forms provided by the airline or by Dominican authorities, passengers will be required to fill out and submit a Traveler’s Health Affidavit. Through this form, passengers declare they have not felt any COVID-19 related symptoms in the last 72 hours and provide contact details for the next 30 days.
The measures and regulations include, but are not limited to:
- Taking the temperature of each guest at check-in and having them sign a declaration of health • Providing guests with masks and disinfectant gel • Redistribution of hotel spaces to maintain distance in all common areas (reception, restaurants, swimming pools, etc.) • Baggage disinfection • Elimination of self-serve food and beverage, so that utensils are handled only by establishment personnel • Special protocols for the care and isolation of guests with symptoms.
- Cleaning and disinfecting all tables between one client and another • Biweekly COVID-19 tests for all work personnel • Capacity is limited to 35% to guarantee ample distance between customers • Customers must wear a mask to enter any premise, but they can elect to remove it once seated at their table • Antibacterial gel dispensers will be placed in all bars, in places easily accessible to customers.
- Distance of at least two meters between tables and a limit of ten diners per table • Implementation of digital menus, disposable printed menus or other options that reduce physical contact • Use of food disinfectants for produce consumed raw • Frequent disinfection of all surfaces that employees or customers touch frequently.
MARITIME TRANSPORT AND AQUATIC SPORTS
- Taking the temperature of every passenger prior to boarding any excursion transportation • Thoroughly sanitizing all equipment used by customers (tanks, masks, paddles, etc.) before and after use • All boats will be sanitized before and after each use • Maintaining established safety distance throughout the activity.
OTHER RECREATIONAL AND TOURISM ACTIVITIES
These guidelines apply to horseback riding, sightseeing, zip lines, theme parks and paintball.
- Reduction of vehicle occupancy to 50% to guarantee safe distances between clients • Use of masks inside all vehicles • Preparation of one-way routes to avoid crossing paths with other groups • Sanitization of all surfaces and equipment that customers come into contact with (reins, harnesses, helmets, vests, etc.)
The entities in charge of supervising the compliance of these protocols are the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Public Health. In addition, in the case of hotels, a certification program has been established through the creation of a Quality Council headed by the National Association of Hotels and Tourism (ASONAHORES) that will guarantee that establishments comply with the regulations, which will provide visitors with a sense of security and trust.