~Reduced quarantine time, increased connectivity~
Per May 1, Saba’s entry policy will change, whereby the mandatory 10-day quarantine measure will be lifted and the connectivity to the island will be increased.
In the new phase, fully-vaccinated persons do not have to quarantine, while for non-vaccinated persons the quarantine period is reduced to five days. More flights will become available on Windward Islands Airways (Winair), and The Edge is planning a new schedule, reestablishing the ferry service between St. Maarten and Saba.
With 85 per cent of the adult population vaccinated against COVID-19, Saba is moving from a containment strategy to a mitigation strategy with a new entry policy and new on-island measures per May 1. Island Governor Jonathan Johnson sent a letter to the local hospitality sector on Friday, April 16 to update the entrepreneurs. A stimulus package has been created to assist the hotels, dive shops and taxi drivers, in preparing to welcome more visitors to the island. Other elements of the stimulus package include endeavors that enhance Saba’s tourism product, funding for promotion and incentives to improve connectivity.
On May 1, Winair will start a new flight schedule between St. Maarten and Saba. Flights will be carried out on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. There will be two flights per day, in the morning and late afternoon. The Edge is planning to resume ferry service between St. Maarten and Saba. The preliminary schedule is Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and twice monthly on Monday.
The risk categorization policy has been updated with the addition of a new category: banned countries. Travelers from banned countries are not permitted to enter the island, unless they are Saba residents. Banned countries are designated by the Dutch Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), based on the widespread circulation of variants of the coronavirus. A link to the updated list of banned countries will on the COVID-19 page of the www.sabagov.nl website. Also on this website, people can find the list of low-risk countries and high-risk countries.
Different measures will be implemented depending on the risk categorization and the vaccination status of the traveler. Fully-vaccinated persons from a high-risk country will not have to quarantine, but they will need to show a negative PCR test result not older than 72 hours before arrival. Non-vaccinated persons from a high-risk country will need to show a negative PCR or antigen test result, quarantine for 5 days and do a rapid antigen test on day five. There will be no measures for fully-vaccinated and non-vaccinated adults from low-risk countries.
Only fully-vaccinated persons can come to Saba for the day. These so-called day-trippers will need to show a negative test result, and secure approval before travel.
All travelers coming to Saba will continue to require obtaining approval before arrival. For now, approval can be requested at least 72 hours before arrival through email@example.com. After May 1, a new automated approval system will be introduced, similar to the EHAS system used by St. Maarten, whereby passengers will submit a digital application within 72 hours of their arrival on Saba. Under the EHAS system, applicants will receive automatic response immediately, followed by an approval letter within 24 hours.
A new central testing location in The Bottom will open per May 1 for travelers who need testing before departure or persons who need testing at the end of their 5-day quarantine. The testing location will be open from Tuesday through Sunday, from 1:00-3:00pm. The cost of a rapid antigen test will be US $50 and US $75 for a PCR test.
The Public Entity Saba is organizing a townhall meeting this Wednesday, April 21 where the community will receive an update on the plans of the new reopening phase per May 1. Addressed will be the new entry process, the new entry policy, the measures on the island, and the continuation of healthcare. The townhall meeting will take place at the Princess Juliana Sports Field in The Bottom from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.