- The last reported positive case of Covid-19 was in July
- 3 international airlines will return to Grenada in October
- Domestic hotel protocol will be in addition to national protocol for incoming passengers
With the return of 3 international airlines to Grenada in October 2020, there is every indication that October will be a turning point for Grenada's tourism industry, which suspended operations in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The airlines in our two major international markets should resume weekly flights and the Sandals Hotel will reopen. I think this is incredibly positive news for the tourism industry," said Tourism Minister Clarice Modeste. "American Airlines, JetBlue and Air Canada will offer weekly flights to the island, and because of that, our hotels will welcome guests back, and with them, many in the sector will return to work."
Grenada is part of the Caricom bubble, and 3 smaller airlines provide connecting flights from Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines or Antigua. International Airlines intends to resume weekly flights in the first 8 days of October. However, Sandals, which operates on an all-inclusive basis, will open Oct. 1.
"This is exciting news for Grenada. We look forward to opening the hotel and resuming welcoming visitors to our shores. This pretty much signals renewed activity in the tourism sector, which has been particularly hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic," Prime Minister Dr. Kate Mitchell was quoted as saying in a Government Information Service (GIS) press release. "What's even more heartening is that hundreds of our citizens are getting their jobs back after six months. This is good news on a personal level for these employees, as well as for the providers of goods and services who indirectly benefit from the hotel operations. More broadly, it is also good news for the country, and I am truly encouraged by this announcement."
As part of the adaptation to the new regulation with the new health protocol, several hotels in Grenada have received government approval to become official quarantine facilities, and this has limited their business with reduced staff.
Radisson, Sandals and Royalton are the 3 international hotel brands operating in Grenada, and each has internal health and cleanliness protocols that are mandatory for the operation of the facilities. Sandals held a two-day seminar last weekend where, among other things, it shared its cleanliness protocol with government officials.
"The internal hotel protocol is designed for hotel operations and will be in addition to our national protocol for arriving passengers. This means that after we clear them at the airport and [they] are allowed to leave quarantined areas, the hotel guest will now have to follow internal health protocols," Modeste explained, noting that all hotels have internal protocols.
The Radisson has never closed; Sandals will open Oct. 1 and the Royalton will open Nov. 29, 2020.
At a recent press conference, Health Secretary Nicholas Steele said Grenada is reviewing its health care protocol. Currently, all arriving passengers from international cities must present a negative PCR test dated at least 7 days prior to entry. The length of the quarantine stay is determined by the original departure cities.
A new health protocol is expected to be in place by October 1, which will work in accordance with the new quarantine provisions (Covid-19) and the provisions of the Public Health Act.
This means, among other things, that, like locals, visits to tourist attractions or any off-site facilities will be required. There is already a new health protocol for entertainment venues. The size of the venue or location of a social event will determine the number of people who are allowed to attend.
The first case of Covid-19 was diagnosed on March 22, and a few days later a state of emergency with a curfew was declared, resulting in the island being blocked to international commercial traffic. Grenada was not the only country in the region to take such action, because by April almost all of Caricom was blocked as part of an effort to control and contain the contamination.
By June, the curfew had been lifted, and it became the new norm as health and law enforcement officials began to implement new health protocols. The deciding factor in this protocol was the opening of the international airport to receive returning citizens.
There are now 24 reported cases of Covid-19 in Grenada, all of whom have recovered. The last reported positive case of Covid-19 was in July 2020.