Photo Credit: Courtesy of Anguilla Tourism Board
How Anguilla Managed Only 23 Reported COVID Cases And Zero Community Spread
Anguilla, an Eastern Caribbean island filled with the quintessential white sand beaches, hidden coves, and island cuisine that is sure to keep you coming back.
But, according to newly promoted Deputy Director of Tourism, Shellya Rogers-Webster, the Anguillian people are the true charm. And for good reason.
“Our people are our richest asset,” Rogers-Webster told Travel Noire. “We truly treat our visitors like family, and we cater to multi-generational audiences. People don’t just come here for vacation, but Anguilla becomes a home away from home.”
If you’ve ever visited, you know that no matter where you go on the island, you will feel safe and comfortable. It’s a great escape from city life and boasts much needed fresh air.
With more than 80% of the population being of African descent, and a melting pot of other cultures, Anguilla is sure to bring an experience like no other.
Even with all the above-mentioned accolades, the real win has been its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keeping visitors and locals safe during pandemic
In 2020, the island of about 15,000 inhabitants managed to put plans and protocols in place— without ever backing down— that led to only 23 confirmed cases of the virus.
“From the start of the pandemic we have only had 23 imported cases, no deaths, and zero community spread,” Stacey Liburd, Director of Tourism for the Anguilla Tourist Board said. “We stuck to our restrictions and didn’t back down once.”
According to Liburb, on paper the rules and restrictions for travel can appear difficult. But, once visitors are on the island they find that they aren’t so bad.
Prior to your visit, you are asked to complete a travel authorization form. It is recommended to submit this form within a week of your departure. Once your form is received, you will then need to upload proof of a negative PCR test within 3-5 days of your departure.
“We often see people go get tested and then try to come to complete the form, Liburb said. “We suggest submitting your application first.”
Once you land, you will be tested on arrival and then asked to quarantine in your hotel or Airbnb until your negative result comes back. Currently, the average turnaround time is about 6-24 hours, and even shorter depending on what time you arrive in the day.
You will receive an email with your result at which point you will be allowed to participate in bubble-approved activities, including dining and off-shore excursions.
Anguilla’s authorities created what they call “guided movement” options, so that guests could enjoy parts of the island without risking infection for local residents.
“We don’t like to think of it as a quarantine,” Rogers-Webster explained. “We have certified dining facilities and tour operators that visitors can utilize. We have made it so that locals, except for those working, can’t interact with guests who are still considered to be in the bubble. We have found a way to offer Anguillian experiences while keeping our community safe.”
If a visitor stays longer than 10-days, they will retest, and once confirmed negative, be allowed to freely roam.
“We currently don’t have any barrings on countries that can enter. There has been an uptick in international arrivals, and lots of digital nomads coming for extended stays. We are happy about this, especially with our safety measures in place. We enjoy our US travelers and are continuing to manage things well.”
For more information on Anguilla’s safety protocols or entry requirements, visit www.ivisitanguilla.com.