The Turks and Caicos Islands re-opened its borders to regional and international travel on Wednesday, 22 July after closing to all non-essential travel on 24 March 2020.
There was a brief ceremony marking the re-opening at the Providenciales International Airport on Wednesday. The Premier Honourable Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, Cabinet Ministers and officials from the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board including the Chairperson for the Board, Mrs. Adelphine Pitter.
Father Alvardo Adderley and Reverend Deacon Scott Jupp prayed and blessed the airport facility and staff ahead of the arrival of the inaugural flight post re-opening.
Following the prayer, Ministers Government and invited guests proceeded to the departure lounge upper level balcony to await the arrival of the first flight.
At 12: 36pm, American Airlines landed with a water cannon welcome at the Providenciales International Airport from Miami International Airport. 72 passengers disembarked flight AA105 following the Environmental Health Department approval.
The Minister for Tourism, Hon. Ralph Higgs commenting on the Ministry’s precautionary measures undertaken prior to the country’s re-opening stated, “We have been working tirelessly towards today’s border re-opening. We want to assure our residents, visitors and all of our stakeholders and travel partners across the world that we have taken every conceivable measure to ensure that our country can re-open safely with all COVID-19 health protocols in place.
We have successfully launched our TCI Assured Authorization Portal which will ensure that all visitor and return resident pre-travel requirements are verified and met prior to entry into the TCI. We have visited many businesses that will be providing services to our guests prior to this re-opening to ensure that they are compliant with the COVID-19 health and safety regulations. And we have launched the TCI Assured Authorization stickers, each with a unique QR code which can be scanned by visitors and residents to register their position at any given time. This feature will be useful in reviewing, non-real-time data, of an individual’s location for contact tracing purposes.”
Premier Robinson expressing sentiment of excitement about the return of regional and international travel said, “We can not remain closed forever. This re-opening is a necessary next step toward our new normal as we must learn to coexist with this virus.
However, I wish to remind the public that the opening up of the economy should not signal the lowering of our guard. I urge us all to adhere to the Ministry of Health’s protocols and guidelines and to do our part as responsible members of the community in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in country.
As Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands I am pleased to welcome visitors back to the TCI. We are satisfied that all the means have been taken to ensure a safe and secure environment for the return of our guests; and for us to mitigate the risk of importing the virus. We have some of the strictest protocols in place for arriving passengers and trust that our approach will bear as comprehensive a measure as we can achieve under these circumstances to ensure that we do not import any cases.”
The TCI welcomed a second American Airlines commercial flight which arrived at 2.30pm from the Miami International Airport. Arrivals at the Providenciales International Airport on day one of the re-opening of the country totaled 122 persons. Outbound travelers totaled 63.