As the island gets ready to welcome its first cruise ships in over a year, the Ministry of Tourism in conjunction with the Ministry of Health have finalised draft Covid-19 protocols for cruise lines coming to our shores in order to kick start a safe and early cruise season.
At a news conference yesterday Minister of Tourism Carlos James outlined the decisions taken in conjunction with other ministers of tourism across the eastern Caribbean and the cruise lines which will see crew and passengers coming to these shores being fully vaccinated among other requirements.
According to Minister James, under these protocols a bubble concept has been created to safeguard cruise passengers, stakeholders, and the Vincentian public by limiting exposure between the various parties.
The bubble, which will apply across the various destinations, will see passengers interacting with only vaccinated personnel to and from pre-approved sites. Minister James said any breach of this bubble will result in fines for the tour operators, taxi drivers and the passengers.
The minister discussed what the bubble will mean for stakeholders on the ground highlighting that anyone who is entering at the various ports must be vaccinated. He noted that taxi drivers will be given two stamps, their regular tourism approved licensing stamp and a health safe operator stamp. They will also be required to have with them at all times their vaccination cards. the operators will however only be allowed to carry 75% of their regular passenger capacity.
Minister James said while cruise passengers will no longer roam the streets of Kingstown, persons who ply their trade may be moved to an approved site in order to meet their target audience and where they can continue to earn a dollar, despite the changes to the sector’s operations. He however stressed that vendors must be fully vaccinated to be included in the bubble.