As positive signs emerge about a safe return of travel in the near term, countries are finding ways to ensure that it stays that way. There’s just one thing: going too far in one direction could alienate potential visitors, making any plans for economic recovery even more difficult to realize. St. Lucia’s announcement of a June 4th welcome date is great news for those hoping to visit, but the draconian measures sound somewhat like a very expensive trip to prison, albeit a beautiful palm tree filled one.
It’s true, St. Lucia the vacation heaven filled with mystical mountain peaks, lush valleys and beautiful beaches is opening to tourists from June 4th, 2020. The country is not however declaring a free for all. Measures will be put in place to ensure the safety of visitors and locals alike from before you’re ever allowed to board a flight, starting with a recent covid-19 test, which must be recent within 48 hours of boarding a flight to the island.
Though it seems impossible to enforce, or monitor, the country also states masks must be worn on the inbound flight whether or not the airline mandates one. As someone who recently flew out of necessity, I’m all for the mask plan, since it provided a meaningful level of added safety.
All good so far, but then it starts to get a bit hokey, at least you could call it hokey if you were paying thousands for the privilege of these things, rather than being locked up for a crime.
On arrival into St. Lucia your temperature is checked and luggage disinfected, both of which are great moves. You’re then instructed, or rather, required to take an authorized taxi only. Instantly, this creates huge potential for a price grab, but so be it. If your buzz hasn’t yet been killed by the many reasonable measures thus far, it may be in the next paragraph.
St. Lucia is effectively confining you to your resort, and limiting the activities you can enjoy. No outside restaurants are open for seated service, and currently all attractions are closed too. Not only that, the country is mandated temperature checks before every meal, and requiring all visitors to wear a mask at all times without any noted exceptions. Expect many thing someone might dream of on vacation like a massage, or even some water sports to be cut. Just to reiterate the story so far, you can come to St. Lucia, but…
- you must go straight to your hotel in an approved vehicle.
- once there, you will be subjected to more temperature checks.
- Every time you go for a meal at the hotel your temperature will be checked again.
- you can’t really dine outside of the resort, it’s take out only and bars are closed.
- all attractions are closed, so there’s really nowhere to go or anything to do.
- if someone at the resort tests positive, you’ll likely be 14 day quarantined.
Let’s hope you’ve got a room with a view.
Sound like something you want to spend your hard earned vacation money on? For someone seeking a-list isolation and relaxation, I could think of worse places to be than up at an ultra luxurious five star resort like Jade Mountain, but I could also think of many more destinations, or perhaps country homes which could be a lot more relaxing, given all the rules.
If you’ve got more questions than answers, the country did do a wonderful job creating a FAQ.
It’s completely understandable for St. Lucia to put forth important steps to prevent the virus from becoming a part of its wonderful culture, while also creating opportunities for local businesses, but at the same time, it’s also completely understandable for most travelers to be put off by the deeply limited enjoyment one could reasonably expect, as far as local experiences go.
If it’s beautiful sun with a nice viewpoint from a private, government approved accommodation you’re seeking, that’s one thing, but if the dream of St. Lucia is more than just socially distanced time in a pretty place, and things like water activities or chocolate tours, it’s another…