How do destinations meet the new US requirements for negative Covid tests?

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The US and UK join Canada and other countries with new requirements for passengers arriving by air to provide proof of a negative PCR test in order to board flights. The new rules apply to everyone, even returning citizens. Destinations and resorts are increasing their ability to provide visitors with rapid tests to meet new demand.

US arrivals by air must have a negative PCR test as of January 26, 2021

From January 26, 2021, passengers arriving in the United States by air must show proof of a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours of departure. The order was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on January 12 and applies to all air passengers two years of age or older, including U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

Although PCR tests are more accurate than rapid antigen tests, experts warn that a negative Covid test does not mean a person is Covid-free. For example, the tests are not as accurate during the early stages of infection, and a person can become infected after the test and before they get home. The best way to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is to minimize contact with people outside your household, wear a mask when around other people, and self-isolate for 14 days before and after. trip. For those who must travel, health experts explain how to make travel safer.

Palladium Hotel Group

Since January 14, 2021, the establishments of the Palladium Hotel Group have offered on-site PCR tests to customers. Tests are done in each property’s doctor’s office and then sent to certified labs for processing. Results are available within 72 hours.

Costs vary depending on the local lab used and are done on a not-for-profit basis. For example, tests at the TRS Turquesa Hotel in the Dominican Republic on Bávaro Beach in Punta Cana cost US $ 140. In Mexico, costs range from US $ 150 in Costa Mujeres and Riviera Maya to $ 250 in Puerto Vallarta. In Jamaica, for example at the Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa in Montego Bay, testing costs US $ 232 on weekdays and $ 350 on weekends.

Palladium guests are encouraged to schedule their testing appointment upon arrival when checking in to minimize disruption to their stay and to facilitate the checkout process. If clients prefer to have their tests done at a local clinic, staff can refer them to a clinic.

Sandals and beaches

Until March 31, 2021, Sandals and Beaches Resorts is offering customers who need free PCR testing onsite. Procedures vary slightly from resort to resort, and staff will arrange for guests to take their test 72 hours prior to departure, with results available within 24-48 hours.

Most of the adult-only Sandals resorts reopened in 2020, including Sandals Montego Bay and nearby Sandals Royal Caribbean with its overwater bungalows. Three resorts will reopen on February 3, 2021: Sandals Ochi from Jamaica, Sandals Halcyon Beach from St. Lucia and Sandals Grenada from Granada. The latest resorts to reopen are in the Bahamas: Sandals Emerald Bay reopens February 24, 2021, and Sandals Royal Bahamian reopens March 31.

Beaches Resorts are aimed at families. Two have already reopened – Beaches Turks & Caicos and Beaches Negril in Jamaica. Also in Jamaica, Beaches Ocho Rios plans to reopen on March 4, 2021.

Aruba

In response to new US requirements, the Caribbean island of Aruba has expanded its testing facilities. Aruba Tourism Authority CEO Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes said, “In Aruba, we have been at the forefront of innovation as quickly as possible to ensure a safe travel experience and transparent to our visitors and … can reassure our travelers will have easy access to the tests in time for their departure. “

Aruba’s main testing centers are located near hotels, and visitors can schedule their PCR test appointments in advance. The average turnaround time for test results is 24 hours. Aruba.com lists test centers, contact details, and test costs.

The Maldives

In 2020, two resorts in the Maldives – Milaidhoo Island Maldives and Nautilus Maldives – funded a Covid test facility with the local council on Dharavandoo Island in Baa Atoll. As of November 2020, PCR test results are returned within 24 hours.

Milaidhoo Island Maldives and The Nautilus Maldives offer free testing for their staff and guests. Other stations also offer tests, often on site. More information on VisitMaldives.com.

Costa Rica

In anticipation of the implementation by the United States of an inbound testing requirement, the Costa Rican Tourism Institute has established a working group to coordinate the provision of certified laboratories for visitor PCR testing. The plan is for PCR testing to be available for less than US $ 100 nationwide.

No need for tests to leave Puerto Rico

Travelers do not need a PCR test to fly to the continental United States from Puerto Rico, as the island is US territory. However, for travelers heading to other destinations or for those who fear they may have been exposed to Covid-19, on-island tests are available at several locations (information is provided at the airport and on this site). Some hotels also offer onsite testing (even in your hotel room) for a fee, such as at Dorado Beach in the A Ritz Carlton Reserve.

More capacity to come

To encourage travel and support their tourism economies, destinations around the world are increasing their ability to provide PCR tests to visitors, in addition to what they already have in place for their own citizens.

Jamaica, for example, has a list of approved testing labs and has created a new task force to boost testing for visitors to meet new demand. This includes on-site testing at more hotels in the main tourist areas of the island. Colombia – with its stunning beaches, archaeological sites and Andean cities – is another destination that can provide PCR testing to travelers who need it, through this list of Colombian test sites.

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