Officials in the Caribbean Netherlands extend flight ban for most countries until Dec. 1 due to ongoing COVID-19 activity.
Authorities in the Caribbean Netherlands have again revised and extended the ban on passenger flights to the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba (BES) through at least Dec. 1 as part of the territories' response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Flights to and from Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda, as well as the EU countries of Germany and the Netherlands, are exempt from the ban. Cargo flights are operating normally.
Regional BES officials retain the authority to impose their own measures as needed, and will likely maintain some of the existing restrictions on entry to the islands, albeit with more flexible measures for low-risk Caribbean countries and territories. The following additional entry restrictions are in place, subject to territory-specific country risk classifications, which are constantly being revised:
- Bonaire: All travelers must complete a health declaration 48 hours before arrival. Persons arriving from the Netherlands, Canada, and Curacao must present a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours before departure or complete a 14-day quarantine. Effective Oct. 26, travelers from Sint Eustatius and Saba do not need to provide a negative COVID-19 test.
- Sint Eustatius: Persons permitted to enter include medical referrals, residents, essential workers, students, and long-stay travelers for business, tourism, and family visits (which must be more than three weeks effective Dec. 1). Short-term visitors for business and tourism are only permitted from low-risk countries. All other authorized persons from medium and high-risk destinations must request pre-approval, present a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival, and complete a 14-day quarantine.
- Saba: On Nov. 1, officials launched the first phase of the territory's reopening plan, which permits all travelers to apply for pre-approval for entry. Visitors must complete a 14-day quarantine and will be subject to health testing and monitoring.
Most businesses and facilities have been allowed to reopen across the islands, provided they adhere to social-distancing standards and enhanced sanitation procedures. Some transport and business disruptions will probably continue despite restrictions being relaxed. Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.
Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.