“Resume Commercial Flights On 1 July 2020″

June 12, 2020

“The decision has been made to resume commercial flights on 1 July 2020,” Minister Zane DeSilva said, adding that there will be a number of  ”protocols and requirements that will be put in place to secure Bermuda and her people from the spread of Covid-19.”

Minister Zane DeSilva’s Statement:

Speaking at last night’s [June 11] press briefing, Minister DeSilva said, “There are many in our community and around the world eagerly awaiting confirmation of when the L.F. Wade International Airport will once again have regularly scheduled commercial flights. I can now confirm that the decision has been made to resume commercial flights on 1 July 2020.

“To that end, the Ministry of Tourism and Transport and industry stakeholders continue working to finalise all the protocols and requirements that will be put in place to secure Bermuda and her people from the spread of COVID-19. Because of the fluid and dynamic nature of this pandemic, and the need to protect all in our community, we have produced a working document, which will be fine-tuned in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

“What I can share this evening is an outline of the process visitors will go through when travelling to and from Bermuda. This outline will allow travellers to plan, and the tourism industry to prepare, even while the details are solidified over the next few days.

“Our plan features five stages of visitors travelling to Bermuda.

  • Stage 1 is “Pre-Departure”
  • Stage 2 is “In Flight”
  • Stage 3 is “Upon Arrival”
  • Stage 4 is “On-Island Experience” and
  • The final stage is the “Return Home.”

“I will give a brief overview of what we are working on, and what visitors and Bermuda may expect.

Phase 1 Pre-Departure

“Prior to departing for Bermuda, travellers will be responsible for several things, including:

  • obtaining a certified PCR COVID-19 test that is negative and taken within 72 hours of departure;
  • ensuring they have appropriate health insurance;
  • wearing face masks when travelling to the departure airport, and,
  • wearing face masks and practicing physical distancing at the departure airport.

“There will also be certain forms that must be completed including the Traveller Screening Form that those on the repatriation flights will be familiar with, as well as an arrival card – containing information shared between Immigration and the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

“Work is underway to merge these forms, making it more convenient for travellers.

“Also, we want the assistance of airlines servicing Bermuda to help prevent persons with COVID-19 coming to Bermuda. This will be done by having airlines conduct verbal health questioning at check-in, as well as conducting a visual check of arrival documentation and forms. Some airlines already carry out contactless temperature checks, and that is something we would want all airlines to do.

Phase 2 in Flight

“During the flight, all airline passengers must wear a face mask while on-board the plane. Airlines will also disinfect the aircraft and seats will be assigned bearing in mind the need for physical distancing. Efforts should also be made to limit contact between passengers and crew.

Phase 3 Upon Arrival

“Upon arrival in Bermuda, travellers must continue to wear their face mask and practice physical distancing. Customs and Immigration officials will be wearing the necessary levels of personal protective equipment or PPE and shielding.

“Also, as soon as possible following arrival in Bermuda, every passenger must undergo COVID-19 testing either at the airport or at their accommodations. Depending on the volume of tests, the results are expected to be received within 24 hours, but in most cases the turnaround time will be less than eight hours.

“At the airport, there will be safety protocols in place. These include the Department of Health conducting contactless temperature checks, hand sanitization stations located through the facility, all staff wearing face masks, and the sanitization of luggage.

Phase 4 On-Island Experience

“Once visitors have exited the airport and are securing their ground transport, face masks must still be worn. In addition, the standard requirement for physical distancing, face masks and hygiene apply to drivers and passengers alike. Ideally, contactless payment methods are preferred.

“At the visitor’s place of lodging, it is advised that contact be limited at check-in. Guests should be given access to their rooms as soon as possible where they will be quarantined for a matter of hours until the COVID-19 test results are delivered.

“Throughout a guest’s stay, their temperature must be taken twice per day and the results recorded.

“All local accommodations must ensure the necessary staff is available and that the necessary safety measures are in place in the facility as advised by the Ministry of Health.

These include having:

  • medical personnel on call;
  • enhanced cleaning protocols and hand sanitizing stations;
  • staff trained by the Department of Health on COVID-19 best practices;
  • face masks provided for guests and staff, and;
  • amenities that comply with physical distancing guidelines.

“While this plan greatly mitigates the risk of someone arriving in Bermuda with COVID-19, we are finalizing a detailed plan for persons who may test positive during their visit. Bermuda’s public health professionals have a well-earned reputation for managing COVID-19 cases successfully and there is every reason to believe that tradition can continue in Phase 4.

“As far as the ability to partake of island experiences, we are working to finalise a policy that allows travellers who test negative 72hrs in advance and who also test negative on arrival in Bermuda to be able to have freedom of movement, adhering to the Health guidelines available at the time.

“At the conclusion of a guest’s visit and, as per the standard practice for public transportation, the requirements for on-board physical distancing, hygiene, and mask-wearing will apply to taxi drivers and passengers. Again, contactless payment methods are preferred.

“Once at the airport, the same requirements when arriving in Bermuda apply to departure. Pre-boarding health screening in the form of a temperature check will be conducted if the destination jurisdiction requires it.

“Please bear in mind that, as we work to finalize the protocols and requirements for travel to Bermuda, rest assured, we will always place the safety of our island and its people above all else.”

BTA’s Interim CEO Glenn Jones statement:

“Along with thousands of tourism workers across the island, the Bermuda Tourism Authority looks forward to welcoming air visitors back to Bermuda safely and responsibly starting July 1,” said Glenn Jones, the BTA’s Interim CEO.

“The Bermuda government’s plan is rigorous: protecting the health of our community, while allowing visitors to experience our island, embrace our genuine hospitality and, importantly, contribute to our local economy.

“The tourism recovery will be gradual and the return of visitor demand will build slowly. We know there are travellers anxious to experience this precious resource we call home. It’s up to all of us to ensure their warm welcome and the healthy return of our valuable tourism economy, as we collectively prioritise keeping our island home safe.”

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Comments (45)

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  1. Ringmaster says:

    Will the same “On Island” requirements apply to friends and family staying in a house, visitors staying in a rented apartment/house and Airbnb properties?

    • Louisa says:

      Agreed we love bermuda & had to cancel our july 4 trip because we were not guaranteed to have our covid results within 72 hours VERY SAD!

  2. Kelley McKinney says:

    Good morning, I coordinate the specialist that come to the island to treat patient, saving cost of overseas travel and where the particular speciality is not on island. Will these programs be able to resume. We have a monthly rotation of Vascular Surgeons as well that operate at KEMH, Eye and Orthopaedic, how will and or/will this program be allowed to restart ?

    Kelley McKinney
    Lahey-Bermuda Liaison

  3. Ruth Cassell says:

    Do these protocols apply to residents returning from abroad say in August?

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      The Government has avoided telling us what will happen to returning residents.

      I suspect we will still be required to go into 14 days quarantine and the Government does not want to upset voters by telling us that

  4. Bermudian says:

    This is crazy! No one is going to travel here with all of these rules. Might as well keep the airport closed.

    • Phil Wells says:

      Good. Covid-19 is still a massive problem worldwide. All it would take would be for one carrier to get into Bermuda and start spreading the virus again and we’d be back to another lockdown. I’m not sure we should be opening the airport at all yet, but these measures, if followed, do at least sound rigorous.

    • Bermuda Bound says:

      We are willing to comply with the rules. We have been visiting Bermuda regularly since 1969 and for the last 10 years or so we have been coming for 2 weeks.

      In Bermuda we stay out at Grape Bay so social distancing is not a problem. I’ve been wearing a mask every time I leave the house (which has been rarely). I want to go somewhere and Bermuda seems like one of the safest places on earth – I promise to do my best to keep it that way. We can get tested easily, but 72 hours is going to be tricky. At home we have also been taking temps and pulse ox daily – because we don’t want to get it either

  5. Frequent BDA Visitor from US says:

    To have any passengers on flights from the US, Bermuda MUST revise the requirement that that a passenger take a COVID test in the US within 72 hours of flying to BDA and show the negative test result before flying. In the US, there are NO OPTIONS for getting the kind of rapid result tests that are apparently available in BDA. In the US it takes 3-5 days from the time the test is taken to get results. (In other words, it isn’t even possible to get a test result in the US before 72 hours. And as they don’t give tests or get results on the weekends, you wouldn’t have any people flying on Sunday Monday or Tuesday.)

    • Ross says:

      Not true since I called today they said it takes most 3 days now.

    • Ross says:

      You’re wrong I called a doctor they said they work on them during the weekend and you’ll get your results in at most three days

    • Kathleen scanlan says:

      That will be hard to do, also has any discussion taken place on the return of cruise ships coming from the US???

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      I guess Zane & his experts will have to go back to the drawing board. Imagine that! They dreamed up a whole bunch of requirements that cannot be complied with.

      I guess nobody thought to pick up the phone & find out what is available in the US. Nah…that would have taken just a little common sense. Soooo…here we are, less than 3 weeks away from the first screech of tires on the runway, & the locals don’t have a workable plan.


    • Louisa says:

      Correct we live in NY the labs are overwhelmed because people returning to work results are NOT guaranteed in 72 hours we have to cancel
      Our july 4 trip VERY SAD!

    • Frequent UK Traveller says:

      The same issue exists for the UK. It is impossible to reliably obtain a CV19 test and results within 72 hours of departure.

  6. trufth says:

    Ok Zane – a few things you forgot to mention:

    1. Please list the flights that even WANT to come to Bermuda July 1st
    2. What happens when only a handful of people book flights – can we assume those flights will be cancelled?
    3. How are you informing tourists in their home countries about all of these pre-requirements that they must do so they don’t show up unprepared?
    4. Everyone knows you can test negative 72 hours prior to departure, get your little document proving that but then contract Covid while exiting the testing center. Will departing airports need to test passengers before sending them to Bermuda?

    Lastly, do we really think tourists will be flocking here knowing what they will need to do?

    • Face palm says:

      That fourth point is so important.
      Keep the border closed!

    • Face palm says:

      That fourth point is so important.
      Keep the border closed!

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      What do you expect, testing at the departure gate?

  7. Frequent Visitor from US says:

    If Bermuda wants to have any passengers on the US flights it MUST change the requirement that passengers have a COVID test taken 72 hours before boarding for BDA. In the US, test results take 3-5 BUSINESS days. The US does not have available for the public the kind of rapid testing that apparently is available in BDA. And if BDA actually wants US passengers and thus extends the time period in which the pre-departure test can be taken, that timing will need to make sure that it leaves enough time for people flying on Sunday and Monday, as those people would need to get their test results by Friday, so would have to take the test on the Monday prior to departure from US to BDA.

    • Nope says:

      Sounds like a personal problem – No thank you, the US can keep their COVID. We have a community to protect! Do some research, countries around the globe have the same requirements.

      • Bermudian says:

        You must think that Bermuda is in a financial position to refuse incoming revenue from travellers. The airport HAS to open. We can’t stay in a bubble forever.

      • Morris Malone sr says:

        Good day. Thank you for the warm welcome. Have a safe and fantastic day.

    • Summer Skies says:

      I agree that the requirement for the test to be taken within 72hrs is not currently feasible for the vast majority of travelers. However if it is must be taken within the previous week or 10 days then that provides little reassurance to Bermuda that you haven’t picked up the virus in the meantime. It’s in the visitor’s interest to have a test too, as it would cost a pretty penny to be quarantined or hospitalised here if you did develop Covid-19. Either because you were incubating the virus prior to travel and it did not show up as a positive yet on the PCR test, or you caught it here because immigration requirements were not stringent enough to keep cases out.

  8. Face palm says:

    This is a terrible idea. Cases are increasing again in the US. All of what we have done to get Bermuda back to a point where we could lift restrictions locally is being thrown away for the sake of tourism dollars. Look at what New Zealand and the Isle of Man have been able to do. No restrictions remain in place there other than the border being closed.

    • Summer Skies says:

      Hit Nail Head. But Premier says we can’t afford not to have the tourism $$. I guess it’s up to you whether you believe that?

  9. Ross says:

    I am traveling with someone who doesn’t have health insurance but my health insurance doesn’t cover me internationally. We have travel insurance but I do have insurance in the US. We plan on paying out of pocket for the covid tests. I just want to know if someone doesn’t have insurance but has the travel insurance for international is that ok. The insurance part is just confusing.

    • trufth says:

      I don’t have an answer about your travel insurance because some carriers have different coverage. You will definitely need to have a strong understanding of what yours covers because if you contract Covid while here or while on your way here, you will be stuck here for at least 14 days and until you test negative (whichever is longest.) You may be stuck in your hotel room or at our hospital depending on severity of your case. Quite risky.

    • Summer Skies says:

      It will be worth your while checking up on the insurance small print officially, not relying on someone’s word here. Aside from whether you are allowed into the island, if you develop Covid-19 here then you could potentially face a pricey unplanned 14+ days quarantine &/or hospitalisation in Bermuda at your expense!

  10. Liz says:

    How much $$$ will Bermuda charge for the Covid test that Bermuda is demanding people take upon arrival?

    • Kathy says:

      Keep your borders CLOSED! You have done such ana amazing job keeping down your cases and deaths to a miraculous controlled level of 6 positive COVID cases currently! 6!

      Do you really want to start all over again when, if you remain closed, within another month or so you could actually use your isolation to your advantage and have a normal life out and about, kids returning to school normally in September, people returning to work, etc.

      Do you really want to put international business at risk and the health of your people and the stability of your hospitals for.the sole benefit of tourism which at the end of the day will suffer nonetheless?


      • Summer Skies says:

        “subsidise the tourism industry”: reality is that’s a pie in the sky ideal. But I take your point that tourism is going to be sorrowful even with the airport open. I don’t know what the solution is.

  11. question????? says:

    Curious to see what the ubpOBA is saying about this they just as silent as their troll bloggers.

    • saud says:

      “Curious to see what the ubpOBA is saying about this”

      Why? Are you realizing that your government doesn’t have a plan, has no clue?

      The OBA isn’t the government, why are you looking at them for answers? Did you vote for them?
      Your ignorance is astounding.

      • Toodle-oo says:

        “Your ignorance is astounding.”

        And he has the audacity to consistently label other people as trolls when he doesn’t even realize what he is.

  12. Thinker says:

    Well it’s quite clear after reading this article that this will be our worst tourist season ever!
    If we even have a tourist season.
    These protocols are focus on flights, but no talks for the cruise ships?? (If they’re even coming)

    Also, taking into consideration that even if you test negative today, who’s to say you can’t be exposed to it during that 72hrs, cause it’s been reported that positive results can show 14 days after contraction so what’s the purpose and accuracy of that test??

    Maybe more thought and consultation should‘ve been considered before making announcements..
    Like, who wants to be on vacation when you’re feeling like you’re in a doctors office during your entire trip…. how can anyone enjoy their vacation while being treated like their the virus themselves, taking temperatures twice a day! I understand you want to keep people safe and we all fully support that, but I’m sure there’s other frame works that are being used right now by other countries which would allow people to remain safe and enjoy their vacation at the same time. This sounds to me like a doctors visit everyday during your time of relaxation. Just the stress alone for a traveler wondering if they test positive, and if so, who were they near or next too, who else on the flight was tested positive, was I close to them, all these things running through their heads during a time you’re suppose to be relaxing and enjoying your vacation!! Who’s gonna want to be subject to that? There’s a psychological impact to all of this.

    Good luck with that!
    (My opinion)

    • One Hotel says:

      We should open ONE hotel like Elbow Beach where all amenities are available and have Tourists there and then bus them to various points of interest across the island. Keeping them somewhat isolated but not fully tucked away. Just reduces the spread.

  13. John Ventresco says:

    Just a thought but what happens if you book a flight a month in advance and three days before test is positive? Does the airline refund you ? I would bet against that. Hoping for a treatment before vaccine so we can all get back to a somewhat normalcy

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Your health is not the responsibility of the airline just as it is not the responsibility of the airline for you to have your travel documents in order.

      What would you like the airlines to do? Perhaps a test with a negative result before accepting a booking then, at a minimum, a temperature check before boarding with an added fee for the service?

  14. Bermudian says:

    Too many rules! And even if its the norm elsewhere, elsewhere can rely on other revenue, we cannot. We NEEEEEED tourists, plain and simple. Everyone has to be careful and mindful of what they do and go.

  15. Cindie says:

    I’m a grandmother who would LOVE to meet her new granddaughter who was born in Bermuda. That said, I’m
    willing to adhere to all the rules for travel but once on the island I would be staying with family – what then?
    What rules will apply to stay with our family?
    The plan only mentions hotel accommodations.

  16. Louisa says:

    Sad we had to cancel our july 4 trip! With people returning to work In NYC the labs are overwhelmed & cannot guarantee results within 72 Hours! VERY SAD! And DONT SAY THIS CAN BE DONE WITHIN 72 HOURS BECAUSE I CALLED EVERY SITE INCLUDING CVS! I cant jeopardize kosong our airfare!

  17. Chris says:

    The airport should remain closed!!!! Follow New Zealand and other countries that are virus free right now and did the math that all the measures that can be used will still leave a 85+% of the virus coming in. They are all open 100% capacity except no international flights. They have no curfews, schools are open fully, restaurants are full and they are know that they would loose much more money by opening the border as would have to return to particle capacity or a full shutdown and restart the process from 4 months ago. Technically we should still be in phase 2 due to unknown origin cases. I am guessing late in August we will already have enough new cases that the schools will have to remain remote. Is that what you really want.

  18. bart tuthill says:

    We love Bermuda and will follow all the rules. My wife and I have been following those rules since march! She is a cancer survivor and we appreciated the fragility of your wonderful island