[Updated with video] After a suspension of commercial flights for more than three months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the island is set to welcome an Air Canada flight today [July 2], with a number of safety protocols in place, including testing passengers for Covid-19.
While cargo, charter and private planes have been arriving, the airport has been closed to regularly scheduled commercial airlines since March of this year. It has now re-opened, and the Island can expect daily Delta flights effective July 6, once a week Air Canada flights from July 2, and twice a week flights from British Airways effective July 17.
The Government previously stated that all of the airlines serving our country before Covid-19 say they are ready to return to Bermuda once the crisis passes, however “the mix of gateway cities, the time of year, and the frequency of flights may not be what we have become used to in years past at least not initially” and “we should anticipate a gradual resumption of the regularly scheduled air services.”
In advance of the airport re-opening to regularly scheduled commercial flights, the Bermuda Government released a document highlighting protocols for travellers.
The Government document says, “We look forward to welcoming visitors and returning residents to Bermuda starting 1st July 2020. Our island home has always been a precious resource set apart by its geographic location and way of life. Over the past few months, we’ve been dedicated to protecting our community and pristine destination for our residents and guests to enjoy for years to come. When you are ready, we look forward to extending a warm welcome.
“Travellers are to comply with the following Bermuda Government protocols:
Pre-departure — A traveller must:
- “Complete the Bermuda travel authorisation process online which gathers important information for the island’s health and immigration officials; a $75 fee is required, which includes the cost of the PCR COVID-19 testing in Bermuda.
- “Visitors must take a certified PCR COVID-19 test, ideally within 72 hours of departure, but no more than five days, and obtain a negative result. This applies to adults and children aged 10 and up. Children who are 9-years-old and younger are exempt and are subject to their adult travel companion’s quarantine.
- “Bermuda residents are not required to get a test before travelling to Bermuda. Residents includes work permit holders.
- “Wear face masks when travelling to the departure airport.
- “Wear face masks and practise physical distancing at the departure airport.
Additionally, a pre-departure traveller should:
- “A visitor should acquire health insurance covering illness and injury outside of his/ her home jurisdiction, including those related to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis while in Bermuda. If this is not obtained, a visitor will be responsible for all health and accommodation costs if treatment and/or quarantine is required; including costs related to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis while in Bermuda
- “Pack a thermometer
In Flight — During flight, travellers must:
- “Wear a face mask while on the plane
- “Practise physical distancing to the greatest extent possible
Upon Arrival — Upon arrival, travellers must:
- “Visitors must present a copy of the pre-departure PCR COVID-19 negative test result to health officers on request.
- “Residents and visitors will undergo PCR COVID-19 testing at the Bermuda L.F. Wade International Airport and quarantine at home or in their room at their accommodation until results are ready [turnaround time between 6 to 8 hours in most cases, when arrival happens during the day]. This applies to adults and children ages 10 and up. Children less than 10 years-old are exempt from the PCR COVID-19 test.
- “Residents [including work permit holders] who do not have a pre-departure negative PCR COVID-19 test result must quarantine for three days after arrival. They will be tested on day three and will be released from quarantine with a negative test. If you did take a PCR COVID-19 test before departure, and receive a negative result during your first three days in Bermuda, you will be released from quarantine.
- “Wear a face mask and practise physical distancing to the greatest extent possible
On-island Experience – When enjoying Bermuda, travellers and residents must:
- “Practise physical distancing, good hygiene and mask wearing in all public spaces where there is close contact with others, including on all public transport [taxis, ferries and buses]. Simultaneously, we’re working to increase contactless payment methods
- “Take your own temperature twice per day and report via online application/portal
- “Take a COVID-19 PCR test, administered on day three, day seven and day 14 at easily accessible pop-up testing centres around the island. Appointments encouraged; no wait for results, and traveller is notified of results. You can find locations and book your appointments here.
COVID-19 Positive Test Result
“If a resident, work permit holder or visitor becomes COVID-19 positive, is a close contact of a positive person, is symptomatic, or if a traveller is clinically diagnosed at any point, they will be subject to public-health [COVID-19] regulations and will be isolated at their accommodation for up to 14 days.
“Anyone who becomes COVID-19 positive, or whom health authorities believe could be positive, will be fitted with an Aqua electronic bracelet to assist with isolation/quarantine.”
The Phase 4 Bermuda Traveller Protocols follow below [PDF here]: