How Bermuda Has Kept COVID Low, Even After Reopening
PUBLISHED: Nov 17, 2020 9:15 AM
Sitting just about 650-miles east of North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras, is where you will find the picturesque island of Bermuda. As a self-governing British territory, the country is one of very few places in the world the CDC has designated as very low risk, meaning there is no travel health notice for the country.
The destination, which is known for its pink sand beaches, got ahead of things early and stood its ground when many considered the rules too strict.
Even after reopening to international flights and tourism, the country has continued to keep enhanced safety measures in place, to ensure they don’t see a spike.
“Two things happened to make Bermuda safer than anywhere else: leadership here took quick and decisive action even when it was difficult and, in response, residents did their part to protect each other,” Glenn Jones, interim CEO and chief experience development officer of Bermuda Tourism Authority told Travel Noire. “If not for those two steps in tandem, thousands more people in our tourism industry would be out of work, and travelers would not have access to our safe haven in the Atlantic.”
For those who travel to Bermuda, resident or visitor, you must take a PCR COVID-19 test prior to boarding your plane into the island. The test can be done no more than 7 days before your departure flight. Once you receive your negative result, you must apply for a Travel Authorization through the Bermuda government and upload the result.
The authorization is $75 and covers your testing once on the ground as well. Before boarding the plane, you must show the gate agent an approved copy of your Travel Authorization as well as the negative result from your COVID test.
Once you land at Bermuda’s airport, your temperature is taken as soon as you step off the plane, and you then proceed to an airport agent (who is in full PPE) who will take your information (including your plane seat number) so that they can keep up with any contact tracing.
After you clear customs and retrieve your luggage, you finally arrive at the outdoor testing tent, where medical staff perform a COVID nose swab. The test is very fast, and the staff is very professional and protected with full PPE. You are then able to transport to your accommodation, where you must quarantine until you receive your negative result.
The results come back as soon as 6 hours but no more than 24 hours, so keep that in mind when planning out an itinerary. To ensure you actually follow the rules and quarantine, hotels issue a special key that is one-time use only. Once you use it and are in your room, the key will not work again until you provide your result and are issued a normal working room key. While in your room, you are able to order food, but the hotel staff cannot enter the room. They deliver it packaged up in a cute takeout bag.
When you receive the negative result, you are free to move about the island. Masks are still required in public and closed-in spaces, and you can remove them once seated at a restaurant. Your hotel will take your temperature each time you return back from exploring the island.
Group gatherings are limited to 75 people, and hosts are required to apply for a permit to do so.
Every 4 days that you remain on the island (for up to 14 days), you will be scheduled to retest at a designated center close to the parish or town that you are listed to stay in. The tests are free (part of your travel authorization fee), and the process takes no more than 5 minutes. After day 8, you will also be able to access gyms and spas across the island, too.
“No goal is as important as getting the word out that Bermuda is safe—about the safest place in the world during the pandemic. This message obviously appeals to all travelers, but I hope it appeals particularly to Black Americans who have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic. You deserve this safe, open-air, stress-free travel experience, now more than ever.”
We recently traveled to the island and experienced this all first-hand. The process was very organized and easy to follow. It did not take away from being able to enjoy Bermuda, and we felt very safe at all times. We can vouch and say, they got it right.