Disclaimer: The travel rules and official government instructions are changing rapidly during the pandemic times and this article might NOT be up to date within a matter of hours. Therefore, you should always double-check the information with local authorities or your embassy in a given destination. Traveling Lifestyle does not take any responsibility for your decision to travel during pandemic.
Officially the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis, this dual-island nation in is the smallest in the Western Hemisphere.
It’s known for its mountains, beaches, tropical rainforests, and friendly locals. Anglophiles love to visit as Cricket and afternoon tea are national obsessions.
Recommended: Check out the full list of travel hotspots reopening their borders!
The impact of the Coronavirus on Saint Kitts and Nevis
This island nation has only had 17 Covid-19 cases and no deaths. A glance at the statistics shows that there were no new cases from April 20th until July 4th. Since then, there have been 2 new cases.
This low number of cases is attributable to the stringent measures taken by the government, which acted early to close borders and turned away cruise ships. Because this small Caribbean nation is heavily dependent on tourism, this did have a significant impact on jobs. However, as Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris told BBC World News, the country has enough set aside to support those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
The government has set aside a $120 million stimulus package to help them. It has also reduced corporate taxes for employers who retain at least 75% of their workforce, and it has removed taxes, fees and import duties on pandemic related products.
The island nation’s response to Covid-19
From March 25th, all borders were closed not just to foreign visitors but also to citizens wanting to return home. As of July 25th, a midnight to 5am curfew was imposed.
The government of Saint Kitts and Nevis has put out recommendations for its residents. The chart tells people to:
- Wash hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based solution frequently.
- Use a tissue or your elbow to when you cough or sneeze.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Maintain social distance.
- Stay home when you’re not feeling well.
Wearing masks is also mandatory and subject to $500 fines. Detailed instructions provided on the website explain everything from how to wash your hands effectively to how to care for your pets.
Nevis, the smaller of the two islands with only 12,000 residents, had only seen 4 cases, and, now that all those have recovered, is officially Covid-19 free. It had launched an app, Nevis Health, to help track cases on the island. St. Kitts had been equally aggressive.
Saint Kitts and Nevis to re-open for tourists in October
The government plans to re-open sometime in October. At that point, both travelers arriving by plane and also cruise ships will be welcome.
To prepare for re-opening, the government is operating a training program until August 27th for the hospitality industry. This will train workers in the new health and safety procedures that Covid-19 has made necessary. While normally the cost would be $100 or more per participant, the fee has been waived and 5,000 people are expected to complete the training.
A new app will also be launched to help track and trace all visitors to the islands. This will facilitate contact tracing if necessary. The app will also inform tourists of information they may need, such as health updates.
Requirements for Entry
All travelers to St. Kitts and Nevis will need to have test negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours of arrival. They will be required to quarantine for 14 days and take a second test when that period is over. At that point, if they still test negative, they will be released from quarantine. They are also required to have travel insurance. Masks are required in public and tourists who do not comply will be fined.
While these requirements are more stringent than those in most other countries, it must be remembered that Saint Kitts and Nevis have the lowest number of coronavirus cases in CARICOM (The Caribbean Community and Common Market ).
Why visit Saint Kitts and Nevis?
This island nation is not only the smallest in the Caribbean, it’s also one of the most luxurious places for a holiday. You won’t have to fight the crowds and you’ll be able to enjoy being pampered while you enjoy the sights.
The country has a rich colonial history, with both English and French influences. Anglophiles will love the fact that tea and Cricket are still a thing here. Nature-lovers while be charmed by the green monkeys, whose ancestors were brought over by the French as pets in the 17th century. You can now see colonies of these mischievous creatures scampering along the roads.
The country itself is a lush green thanks to the fertile soil. This soil is due to the volcanoes which formed the islands. They are now dormant. The tallest is Mount Liamuiga, which is a popular hiking destination for tourists. It boasts a beautiful crater lake.
For tourists who enjoy festivals, there are two of note. The St. Kitts Music Festival is held in June and the St. Kitts-Nevis National Carnival takes place between Christmas and New Year. You’ll love the calypso and soca music and the gorgeous costumes.
For a relaxing and luxurious Caribbean vacation, you will not beat St. Kitts and Nevis. Also, in this time of pandemic, these might be two of the safest islands for you to visit. You’ll find beautiful beaches and warm, friendly people when you come to the Caribbean’s smallest country.