Fearing the coronavirus outbreak, travelers arrive at MIA wearing face masks

Although there had been no reported cases of coronavirus in Florida as of Feb. 6, 2020, the worldwide scope of the epidemic saw some travelers arriving at Miami International Airport wearing face masks anyway. By Carl Juste

After more than two months of watching their tourism-dependent economies get decimated by the coronavirus amid airport, beach and hotel closures, Caribbean nations are starting to reopen their borders to tourists again.

But the experience won’t look anything like the one visitors may have had six months ago. Traveling during the global COVID-19 pandemic will now mean health and safety protocols for hoteliers and tour operators and uncertainty for airlines as island governments demand face masks, temperature checks and COVID-19 testing for passengers — some even before boarding.

“There is an expectation that if you are staying in the territory and you feel you have some of the known symptoms for the coronavirus, you report immediately to the government powers that be and then begin self-quarantine,” said Joseph Boschulte, commissioner of tourism for the U.S. Virgin Islands.

On Monday, the U.S. territory, which never officially closed its airports, relaunched its tourism brand by inviting travelers to once more come visit. As the pandemic hit in March, USVI Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. closed the islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John to all visitors and banned hotels, guest houses and bed-and-breakfasts from accepting new guests.  Continue reading

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