We recently travelled to St Lucia for a short getaway. And yes we did travel during the pandemic! Not only were we looking to get away from the start of Canada’s long winter season, but we wanted to check out the safety protocols in place to better assist our clients that were planning trips for this coming winter.
The world of travel is very different than it was at this time last year and many people are curious about the new normal. What’s it like travelling through the airport? What safety protocols are in place at the resort? What do we need to do prior to leaving?
We have officially finished our quarantine and finally had a chance to sort through all of our messages. We had a large amount of inquiries and questions about St Lucia, and travel in general so we’ve decided to try and answer some of the most Frequently Asked Questions.
Where is St Lucia!?
St Lucia is a small island country in the West Indies of the Caribbean!
What did you need to do before leaving to guarantee entry?
All arrivals (5 years and over) must have a COVID-19 PCR test with a negative result taken no more than 7 days before arrival in Saint Lucia. We had our test done at Shoppers Drug Mart on a Sunday, received our results on Wednesday and left on Saturday. All arrivals (18 years and over) must also complete and submit a Travel Authorization Form to the Government of St Lucia for approval in addition to their negative test.
How empty was the airport and your flight?
Our flight was about 40% full on the way there and 30% full on the way home. We had the entire exit row to ourselves with plenty of leg room! The airport was also much quieter than usual.
Are people wearing masks in the airport?
Yes. Masks are required everywhere in the airport at all times – unless you’re seated and eating or drinking.
How’s the social distancing situation in the airport?
The security lines were all spaced out and every other seat at the gate is covered so people can’t sit too close together. Overall the airport is much quieter than usual so it’s easy to keep your distance
What other safety protocols were there in the airport?
Hand sanitizer everywhere – and it is mandatory through certain check points. There are disinfectant misters you can walk through. Temperature checks were done through security. There are new automated security checks as well to reduce contact with travellers and airport staff. Our proof of a negative COVID test was checked several times as well!
Are they serving food on flights?
Depends where you’re going and who you’re flying with. Our flight did not have food service, but they served drinks throughout. We also got a little package with water, a snack, mask, hand sanitizer etc. when we boarded.
Is it safe in St Lucia?
“Safe” is fairly subjective as everyone has a different comfort level. With that being said, at the time of departure it was one of a few countries in the world listed as a level one meaning very low COVID risk.
Did you feel safe?
We were slightly nervous before arriving to the airport but after getting through security and seeing all of the measures that are being taken we were put at ease pretty quick. There was never a point throughout the whole trip that either of us felt unsafe or at risk.
Do you have to quarantine when you get to St Lucia?
No, if you have a negative PCR test and stay at a covid certified property you do not need to quarantine. However, if you are returning to Canada, the current regulations require you to quarantine for 14 days upon returning home. If you are able to work from home, are a student or are retired, the quarantine is not a big deal but for those who cannot afford to stay home for two weeks, our fingers are crossed that rapid testing will come soon.
Where did you stay in St Lucia?
We stayed at the Sandals Grande St. Lucian which is a government approved COVID safe resort. For the complete up to date list you can find the link here: https://www.stlucia.org/en/covid-19/
Did you have to wear masks at the resort?
Masks are only required while in indoor public spaces. You are not required to wear a mask by the pool or on the beach as you are outdoors! Plus there were limited people at the resort so you could keep your distance. Staff were wearing masks at all times and everyone at the resort had to get a negative COVID test and screening before arrival which helps! We wore our masks at any times we felt we might be close to people as a precaution!
Was there entertainment and available activities still?
Yes! All of the entertainment was moved from the theatre to open air spaces with social distancing measures. There was a very cool water show one night in the pool and there was live music and performances on the lawn most nights! We were also able to rent kayaks and paddle boards and stuff like that – the staff would sanitize everything before and after each use!
Can you leave the resort?
Right now you can but only if you are taking part in a government approved activity with a government approved tour operator. You are not able to just leave the resort and tour around on your own, which is probably for the best for tourists and locals alike!
Would you recommend St Lucia?
Absolutely! St Lucia is a beautiful country with tons of amazing and luxurious resorts. It is extremely lush and not like what you expect from most Caribbean countries. The people were extremely hospitable, the food was amazing and the views were spectacular! What more could you ask for in a destination?
Note – when booking travel during a known pandemic we strongly recommend using a travel agent or doing your research prior to booking. There are inherent risks when travelling during this time. Receiving help from a travel professional can ensure that you are prepared and have done all of the necessary required to enter the country you are visiting.
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