Bonaire begins a staged re-opening, including passengers from North America.
This afternoon, Bonaire’s Lt. Governor Edison Rijna outlined the details of a staged re-opening to tourism, including travelers from North America.
Here is a transcript of his speech:
Dear Citizens of Bonaire,
Today I want to start with the good news that no new cases of COVID-19 have occurred on our island in the last 13 days. I am very happy that we got this done. To me, that’s proof that if we join forces and stick to the rules of hygiene and social distance, we can slow the spread of the virus. It also means that now is the time to start step-by-step to adjust the rules that are still in force. For example, the rules for travelers who want to travel to Bonaire from the Netherlands or Curaçao. And also the rules that were in force for us here on Bonaire.
Why does this have to be done step-by-step? The answer is that we know which way we want to go. We want it to be so that there are few cases of people infected with the virus. A situation where we can monitor and control the number of cases of COVID-19. That is why we are not going to change everything on a large scale and in one fell swoop. What we are going to do is slowly make some changes and see how this works in practice. We must also take into account how the situation around COVID-19 is developing in precisely those countries from which many travelers normally come to Bonaire. We will regularly review how things are going before we come up with more changes.
We distinguish six phases in the corona crisis and the risks they entail. There is a diagram explaining which measures must be taken for each phase. In phase 1, the situation is stable and there are no cases of people infected with the virus. The risk that people from abroad will infect local people with the virus is small. In this phase, the only rules are hygiene and keep yourself at a distance of 1.5 meters. In the last phase, the sixth, there is a massive outbreak of the virus and we have to go into lockdown. In the period that we have passed, we were in phase 4. On Monday, October 26, we will officially go from phase 4 to phase 3 with the rules that belong to that phase. The schedule can be found on our website www.bonairecrisis.com. We will publish a detailed explanation of this scheme on our site shortly.
I now want to talk about the changes that are coming. To start with, yesterday we asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to switch from code orange to code yellow for Bonaire. RIVM is now investigating whether this is possible. As soon as the result is known, I will inform you about it.
Travelers from Curaçao can travel to Bonaire by plane or boat from October 26, 2020. They must take the PCR test no later than 72 hours before the flight and the result must be negative. They must also complete a health statement from the Public Health Department of Bonaire. This can be found on our website or can be requested by e-mail at email@example.com. For the time being, there are 4 daily flights from Curaçao from Monday to Thursday.
Passengers from Bonaire can travel to Curaçao. When returning to Bonaire, they must take the PCR test in Curaçao no later than 72 hours before their flight. The result must be negative. When they return to Bonaire, they do not have to be quarantined.
Passengers from Sint Eustatius and Saba traveling to our island do not need to take a PCR test. Sint Eustatius and Saba together with our island form a so-called bubble. So an area in which it is safe to travel.
Passengers from Aruba, Sint Maarten, Canada, and the United States can come to Bonaire via Curaçao. They must do a PCR test no later than 72 hours before departure and the result must be negative. They must also complete the health statement from the Public Health Department.
The flight ban for direct flights from the United States will be extended by two weeks.
If conditions remain favorable, we can relax measures even more and open up to more countries when it is justified. I want to offer perspective to our tourism sector.
The emergency ordinance that is now in force will be replaced by another one. The new emergency regulation will enter into force on Monday, October 26, 2020, and is valid until November 15, 2020. The new emergency ordinance is necessary because in this way, for example, the conditions can be arranged for passengers who want to come to Bonaire.
From Monday, October 26, 2020, casinos and gyms may open, if they adhere to the guidelines of Public Health. Last week we spoke with a number of them. If they want to open earlier than Monday, they can open after an inspection by Supervision and Enforcement. When it comes to working, we recommend working from home as much as possible.
Before I end I would like to say the following. If there is one thing we have learned in recent months, it is that we are well prepared to act in a crisis situation. We have had times when many people have been infected with the virus. And we all got through that. Thank you for your part in this, even though it may have been difficult at times to follow the rules.
I would like to ask everyone to be aware that we can only continue to relax measures if we continue to obey the rules. That is the hygiene rules, coughing and sneezing in the elbow, and staying 1.5 meters away from others.
I’m counting on all of you. Take care of yourself and each other. Together we can. Together we manage to fight corona.
Mandatory Health Declaration
Travelers to Bonaire are required to complete an online health declaration, preferably 48 hours before departure. Upon arrival, you must be able to show the form (printed or a digital copy on your phone) to a Public Health employee if asked.
Download the health statement:
(Source: OLB and RCN)