This is a developing story. For the latest information on traveling during the coronavirus outbreak, visit the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
It looks like an island getaway is possible this summer—if you’re willing to follow a series of strict health protocols. Starting July 1, Bermuda’s government will allow for international commercial flights to resume to the self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom. This is part of Bermuda’s fourth phase of reopening after successfully containing the coronavirus through a high volume of testing, contact tracing, and shelter-at-home measures.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic to date, Bermuda has recorded only 146 total cases of COVID-19 with 9 resulting deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. As of June 25, there were 4 active cases remaining on the island.
“As we work to finalize the protocols and requirements for travel to Bermuda, rest assured, we will always place the safety of our island and its people above all else,” Zane DeSilva, Bermuda’s minister of tourism and transport, said at a press conference earlier in June.
Here’s what we know about those new protocols and requirements.
Visitors will need to be tested at least twice for COVID-19
Before departing, travelers must complete a Bermuda travel authorization form online and pay a $75 fee, which covers the cost of all COVID-19 testing in Bermuda. Also, ideally within 72 hours but no more than five days before departure, adults and children 10 years and older will need to obtain a negative nasal swab test. (Children betweeen 10 and 17 can opt for a saliva test instead and children under 10 years are exempt from all testing.)
Visitors are also being asked to pack a thermometer and only travel to Bermuda if they have health insurance that covers them outside of their home jurisdiction. Face masks will be required to be worn throughout the entire journey, including while traveling to the departure airport, at the airport, and during the flight.
Upon arrival in Bermuda, travelers will also be asked to undergo another COVID-19 test at L.F. Wade International Airport or at their accommodation, and then self-quarantine until the new test results are delivered (typically within 8 to 24 hours). Other safety protocols, including temperature checks and face mask requirements, will also be in place at the airport.
Travelers who are able to produce those two negative test results will be free to move around Bermuda as long as they adhere to local health guidelines, which include wearing face masks in all public places when social distancing isn’t possible, as well as taking their own temperatures twice a day and recording the results online through a government portal. Depending on the length of the trip, travelers will also need to take additional COVID-19 tests on day 3, day 7, and day 14 at pop-up testing centers throughout Bermuda.
Those who are unable to access predeparture COVID-19 tests will still be allowed to travel to Bermuda. However, they will need to quarantine for three days at their accommodation in addition to undergoing testing upon arrival and again on the third day of their trip.
If you end up testing positive during your trip, you’ll be required to quarantine at your accommodation for up to 14 days and wear an electronic bracelet to track your movement.
Airlift to Bermuda is limited for now
Even though L.F. Wade International Airport is technically reopening to regularly scheduled commercial flights on July 1, airlines will slowly resume flights from North America and the United Kingdom throughout the month.
So far, the flight schedule for July 2020 looks like this:
- July 2: Air Canada resumes weekly flights from Toronto on Thursdays
- July 6: Delta resumes daily flights from Atlanta
- July 17: British Airways resumes twice-weekly flights from London Gatwick on Mondays and Fridays
Restaurants, pools, and spas are open—with social-distancing measures in place
As of July 1, a curfew will still be in place between midnight and 5 a.m., but many things will be open on the island. So far, during Phase 3 (which lasts until July 1), restaurants have reopened with indoor and outdoor dining as long as proper social distancing is in place. Movie theaters and museums have reopened with 20 percent capacity, pools can allow up to 20 people at a time, and spas are able to book appointments for massages once again. While indoor bars and nightclubs remain closed for now, they are expected to reopen in Phase 4 along with international flights on July 1.
Some hotels (but not all of them) will be reopen by July
Starting July 2, Rosewood Bermuda will welcome back international visitors in accordance with guidelines put in place by the Bermuda Ministry of Health along with the Rosewood Hotel Group’s own global health and safety program. Guests at the hotel, which is located on a private pink sand beach, will be able to visit the property’s restaurants, pools, gym, and golf course. Currently, several offers are available, including a fifth night free on a four-night reservation deal, as well as 35 percent off suites.
The 45-room Loren at Pink Beach has been open to local visitors for staycations since May 28 and has implemented new protocols to keep staff and guests safe and healthy. The property’s Sisley Spa, restaurants, pool, and beach facilities will reopen in line with the government guidelines.
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