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Effective July 1st, Bonaire’s re-opening commenced with a step-by-step plan focused upon keeping Bonaire’s residents safe.

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Bonaire’s Lt. Governor, Edison Rijna, confirmed that Bonaire’s re-opening will be handled in a step-by-step manner with evaluations along the way to ensure the safety of Bonaire’s people.  However, many visitors who wish to travel to the island have questions.  This set of Quick Facts, issued by Bonaire’s island government, may help with questions.

Which countries are considered low-risk for COVID-19 at this time during Bonaire’s re-opening?

As of July 1, 2020, these countries are considered low-risk for Bonaire:

  • The islands from the “air-bubble”: Aruba, Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten.
  • The Netherlands
  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Luxembourg.

Any changes will be announced as quickly as possible. Bonaire’s in-travel policy states that persons who stayed in so-called high-risk countries 14 days before arrival on Bonaire may not travel to Bonaire. This means that Americans are not allowed to board the plane to Bonaire immediately upon arrival in another island within the “safety bubble.” Should they nevertheless report to the Bonaire airport, they will be refused entry to Bonaire on the basis of Article 2r, paragraph 1 of the WTU BES. It is then the responsibility of the airline with which they came to transport these travelers back to the departure airport. The costs involved are for the account of the airline and/or the traveler. This entry restriction also applies to people who want to come to Bonaire by boat.

What are the current conditions for travel under the first phase of Bonaire’s re-opening?

You can travel to Bonaire if you:

  • complete a health declaration
  • have a minimum of 14 days consecutively in a low-risk country (as noted above) and have remained free of COVID-19.  If you do not comply with this, you must be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival (at your own expense).
  • Have no complaints upon departure associated with COVID-19 (colds, sore throat, cough, sneezing, shortness of breath, loss of smell and taste, or fever).
  • You have not had direct contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient in the past 14 days.

Bonaire advises anyone aged 13 and over who wants to travel to the island to undergo a COVID-19 PCR, the result of which upon departure to Bonaire is no more than 72 hours.

Bonaire also advises travelers to Bonaire to check whether they are insured for health costs during their stay on Bonaire and if this is not the case, to take out travel insurance.

Why should I take out travel insurance?

Medical costs incurred on Bonaire are for the account of the traveler, including costs related to COVID19. Travelers are responsible for taking out travel insurance. Contact your insurer to check whether the costs for medical care incurred on Bonaire are reimbursed.

I have been in a high-risk country 14 days before my traveling date.  What is the process when I fly to Bonaire?

The health declaration that all travelers must complete includes a question of whether the traveler has been in a high-risk country less than 14 days ago. If you have been in a high-risk country less than 14 days ago, you are requested upon arrival in Bonaire to cooperate in the monitoring of public health and to be quarantined for 14 days.

The infectious disease control doctor of the Public Body of Bonaire may decide to advise the Lt. Governor to place individual persons in quarantine upon arrival on Bonaire. The doctor does this if, based on his/her findings, he/she suspects the person concerned might have an infection or a gives a high risk of infection, and the person refuses to cooperate. The Lt. Governor can follow this advice on the basis of Article 35 of the Public Health Act. The judge takes the final decision to obtain judicial authorization. If you have stayed in a high-risk country 14 days before the travel date, you will have to take this into account that based on this information you will be quarantined immediately for 14 days upon entry.

Under the current regulations for Bonaire’s re-opening, what are the rules for passengers landing in Bonaire who are in transit?

As long as the passenger can remain on board, the rules of the final destination apply. If the layover takes longer and passengers are asked to disembark and sit in the departure hall until departure to the next location, the rules of the airport apply. If due to unforeseen circumstances, you still have to stay on Bonaire, then the rules apply as for travelers arriving from non-safe areas to Bonaire. During the flight, of course, the hygiene rules of the airline apply.

Where can I find the Health Declaration and how and where shall I submit it?

Currently, the form can be downloaded from the websites of Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam), as well as the two airlines providing flights–KLM and TUI. A website will soon be opened on which the form can be completed online.  The health declaration can be emailed to a central address at the public body of Bonaire (

Also, bring a printed version of the health certificate when you travel: in the transition phase to the online form, you may be asked to hand it over to a representative of the airline you are flying with or a representative of the Public Health Department at Bonaire International Airport.

Under the current regulations for Bonaire’s re-opening, will I be tested in Bonaire’s airport?

It is currently recommended to have a COVID-19 PCR test performed before departure if you travel to Bonaire from a country designated as safe and which is outside the “air bubble.” If the Public Health Department deems it necessary for you to undergo a test upon entry, they will then determine where the test will be performed.

For travelers departing from Bonaire.

The conditions for traveling to destinations from Bonaire are the responsibility of your destination. Check the conditions for the country of destination at, or contact the airline with which you are flying, or your travel agent, or visit a website of the country of destination.

When departing from Flamingo Bonaire International Airport, you must comply with the airport guidelines. These can be found here:

What is the test policy for COVID-19 if you are on Bonaire or living here?

For all persons with the following complaints:

  • Common cold
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Sudden loss of smell or taste,

a COVID-19 PCR test is taken. All people with respiratory complaints should isolate themselves until the test result is received.

What are the COVID-19 test standards?

Incoming travelers aged 13 years and older are advised to get tested for COVID-19 72 hours before departure. This in connection with the public health of the inhabitants of Bonaire.

This test must meet at least the following conditions:

  • Only the results of a PCR test are valid. For this test, a swab of the nasal and pharynx is done with a cotton swab.
  • The test must be performed by an accredited laboratory.
  • The test result must not be older than 72 hours upon arrival on Bonaire.

Where can I get a COVID-19 PCR test in the European Netherlands?

Several parties are currently offering a PCR test for travelers. Here are some examples:

  • KLM Health Services
  • The General Practitioner Lab
  • Saltro Laboratory

Under the current regulations for Bonaire’s re-opening, am I required to have a PCR Test when I travel to Bonaire?

Bonaire cannot make it mandatory for a traveler to have a PCR test performed 72 hours before departure. However, Bonaire’s Lt. Governor strongly advises travelers to Bonaire to have this test carried out. He urges this out of a sense of responsibility of the traveler, and for the benefit of their own health as well as the public health on Bonaire. This is very important, given the small-scale character of the island and the availability of care facilities in the region.

Bonaire advises travelers to get tested for COVID-19 72 hours before departure for the safety of the public health of the inhabitants of Bonaire, but the test is not mandatory. This test must meet at least the following conditions:

  • Only the results of a PCR test are valid. For this test, a swab of the nasal and pharynx is done with a cotton swab.
  • The test must be performed by an accredited laboratory.
  • The test result must not be older than 72 hours upon arrival on Bonaire.
  • The health declaration asks for this.

Bonaire only accepts the results of tests performed by an accredited laboratory. This minimizes the chance that a false-positive result will be given. If there is a positive result of the PCR test before leaving for Bonaire, please contact your doctor or the health authority in your country and follow their instructions.

Quarantine and isolation related to COVID-19.

Under the current regulations for Bonaire’s re-opening, when should I visit Central Quarantine, and when can I quarantine at home?

Travelers who come from countries with a low risk for COVID-19, who do not show any complaints and are without further complaints, do not have to be quarantined upon entering Bonaire.

Travelers who have stayed in a high-risk country up to 14 days before departure to Bonaire must immediately be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival on Bonaire. You should also be quarantined if a roommate or someone you have had direct personal contact with has tested positive for COVID-19. The quarantine takes place in your own home, holiday accommodations, or in a designated quarantine location.

In collaboration with the hoteliers on Bonaire, a hotel has been designated that serves as a central quarantine. People are placed here for whom the home situation or holiday accommodations are not suitable for quarantine. The costs for this are borne by the person who has been quarantined.

If you have complaints appropriate to COVID-19, you will be asked to stay indoors, minimize contact with your housemates or traveling companions, and not receive visitors–basically isolate yourself.  Then, please contact the Public Health Department of Bonaire (+599) (0) 800 -13 51 regarding a PCR test.

The isolation can take place in the holiday accommodations, a hotel room, in the owner’s house, or in a designated isolation location if the situation at the holiday accommodations is not suitable for isolation. In collaboration with the hoteliers on Bonaire, a hotel has been designated that serves as a central isolation location. The costs for this are borne by the traveler who is placed in isolation, or, for residents of Bonaire, the costs are borne by the ZVK under normal health insurance.

For all who live on Bonaire or visit temporarily.

Rules of conduct for Bonaire’s re-opening that are to be followed by all persons (residents or visitors) while on Bonaire.

Everyone on Bonaire, residents or visitors, must follow the following hygiene rules of conduct:

  • Keep 1.5 meters away from people who are not living in your household.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water; only use hand disinfection if soap and water are not available.
  • Do not sit with your hands on your face.
  • Don’t shake hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into the elbow.
  • Use paper tissues and throw them away after use.
  • Stay at home (do not go to work, do not go to school, do not go shopping), when you have to answer positively to one of the following questions:
  1. Have you had one or more of the following complaints in the past 24 hours or at this time: cold, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, mild cough, shortness of breath, fever and/or sudden loss of smell or taste?
  2. Have you had the new coronavirus (diagnosed with a laboratory test) and has it been diagnosed in the past 7 days?
  3. Do you have a roommate with the new coronavirus (determined by a laboratory test) and have you had contact with this roommate for less than 14 days while he/she still had complaints?
  4. Are you in quarantine at home because you have had direct contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the new coronavirus?
  5. If you have traveled to countries other than Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium or Luxembourg in the last 14 days.

When should I wear a mask?

You must wear a mask on Bonaire if it is not possible to keep 1.5 meters away from others who do not belong to your immediate household. In addition, you must always wear a face mask on the plane, on arrival or departure at Bonaire International Airport, and during transport to your holiday accommodations.

What number can I call if I get COVID-19 related complaints and what happens then?

If you have the following complaints:

  • Common cold
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Sudden loss of smell or taste

you must contact the Public Health Department on telephone number (+599) (0) 800 – 13 51. Follow the instructions you receive there. If they can confirm your complaints, they will arrange for you to be tested for COVID-19. It is important that you isolate yourself if you have respiratory complaints. This means that you stay at home, do not receive visitors, and keep contact with your housemates to a minimum.

Who pays for the costs if I am infected with COVID-19 or require quarantine?

If quarantine is imposed, you are liable for the costs involved. If you are placed in isolation, these are medical costs: whether these are reimbursed by your health insurance depends on the conditions of your health insurer. Isolation costs are reimbursed for residents of Bonaire who are insured via the ZVK. For others, it is advisable to carefully check with your insurer as to which costs are reimbursed.

General Questions about Bonaire’s re-opening.

Why are the Bonaire rules different than with Curacao and/or Aruba?

Each island determines its own rules for entry so that these correspond as closely as possible to the local situation and suit the needs of each island.

The experts and policymakers of the 6 Dutch islands are in constant consultation with each other, as well as with the Netherlands, about the entry regulations. The rules are coordinated as much as is possible.

How is a country considered low-risk or high-risk?

Based on advice from RIVM, a bi-weekly assessment is made of which countries should be considered safe and which countries should be considered risky, in relation to the health care capacity of the island.

Why is there no regulation which can enforce the measures?

Bonaire has not had any COVID-19 cases for a long time. As long as the residents and visitors of Bonaire take their responsibility seriously and follow the prescribed entry criteria and behavioral measures, it is not necessary to have an emergency regulation. When it is found that these criteria and behavioral measures are not being followed, the Lt. may decide to reintroduce an emergency regulation

How good is the care capacity currently on Bonaire?

Bonaire, together with general practitioners, the hospital, public health, the laboratories, and the public body, went through all COVID-19 related aspects of care at the end of June. For example, the test policy, source and contact research, quarantine and isolation policy, and acute/medical care were all analyzed. On all these points, it has been concluded that they are, in principle, sufficiently organized to allow the measures to be relaxed with confidence.

What protocols are currently in place under Bonaire’s re-opening?

Based on the advice of RIVM, Bonaire has drawn up a number of rules of conduct and access measures for Bonaire. Based on this, the following protocols have been drawn up in close collaboration with the Public Health Department:

The above protocols can be found as an appendix to the Roadmap Bonaire COVID-19, which will be made public soon.

In addition, individual organizations and companies have drawn up their own protocols: they communicate about this via their own channels.

How long will tourist information be stored?

It is important for source and contact research that a tourist can still be approached for a maximum of 14 days after departure in case infection of COVID-19 is found in someone with whom this tourist may have been in contact. The Public Health Department, therefore, keeps the contact details of visitors on Bonaire for 14 days after departure.

Hotels, resorts, and tourist carriers keep logs of possible contact moments with and in-between tourists. These must also be kept for 14 days until after the tourist has left.

Will Bonaire immediately return to a lockdown condition when infections are found?

The possible detection of COVID-19 infections is also a reality for Bonaire. Bonaire has worked hard to expand the care capacity so that the island is well prepared for a possible future contamination case and does not have to immediately go into a lockdown when an infection occurs.

Depending on the situation, it will be examined whether and which measures are needed to protect the people of Bonaire against an outbreak of COVID-19 infections. Scenarios have been developed for this. This not only takes into account the situation on Bonaire but also that in the countries from which people can travel to Bonaire.

What will be the period between the announcement of a ban on flying, if necessary, and can I still return home to Bonaire?

If it is necessary to introduce a (limited) flight ban, no guarantees can be given that you can still come back home if you live on Bonaire. In practice, there is always a period before the realization of a flight ban. You could use that period to return, but no guarantees can be given for this either.

Incidentally, you also have to take into account the situation in the countries to which you travel; after all, they may also stop air traffic. In that case, too, there is no guarantee that you can return to Bonaire.

How is it checked that a maximum of 1,000 tourists can enter Bonaire each week?

This is done by monitoring the capacity of the incoming flights on Bonaire. The number of passengers can be increased or decreased, with the ratio between the number of possible infections and the capacity of Bonaire’s healthcare being taken into consideration.

How will the island handle arriving cruise passengers?

It is not yet known when cruise ships will return to Bonaire. As soon as this becomes known, the government will weigh the associated risks for COVID-19 contamination, combined with the capacity of health care on Bonaire, and prescribe appropriate measures. At the moment, the behavioral measures apply to everyone on Bonaire, residents and visitors, and therefore also to visitors who come here by ship.

COVID-19 contamination risk questions.

On the basis of the epidemiological situation of a country or state where travelers come from, one can estimate the risk of introduction in the country of destination. From countries where the prevalence (the occurrence of the virus) is high, the chance of a tourist with COVID-19 is naturally higher than from a country where the prevalence is low.

Therefore, to minimize the chance that someone infected with COVID-19 comes to Bonaire:

  • Bonaire has identified a limited number of countries with low prevalence for COVID-19 from which you can travel to Bonaire,
  • each traveler is requested to complete a health certificate,
  • Travelers aged 13 years and older are advised to have a COVID-19 PCR test performed at most 72 hours before departure.

These measures ensure that the risk of someone coming to Bonaire in proportion to the capacity of care on Bonaire is acceptable.

How great is the chance that I have a COVID-19 infection if I have symptoms?

Currently, less than 1% of people from The Netherlands who show symptoms that could indicate a COVID-19 infection test positive for COVID-19.

Related Posts

(Source:  OLB)

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Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, a certified bird guide, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


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