On June 1, Antigua reopened her boarders after 2.5 months of Coronavirus lockdown. At the same time, restaurants and retail establishments reopened with strict protocols in place to continue to protect Antiguans from the virus which could be reintroduced by visitors.
Every restaurant must have a hand washing station at the entrance. It’s kind of interesting – where a restaurant doesn’t have running water at the entrance, they use a 5-gallon bucket with a spicket. Or even this creative water vessel, which I’m pretty sure was intended to serve draft beer, lol.
Masks are required, of course, although not when you’re eating or in the beach or in a pool. Bars have tape lines on the floor showing where patrons can stand in order to stay 6 feet apart. Cash registers also have tape markings, and ask that only one person queue at a time. In grocery stores, plexiglass barriers have been installed. Every business, no matter how small, has hand sanitizer at the entrance. And employees make sure you use it!
Some business have found the protocols, and the inspections that come with them, to be too difficult to implement. Others have significantly reduced their hours. This British pub is only open Friday, Monday, and Tuesday from 4:00 to 8:30. Their curry is delicious!
So far, there’s only been one commercial flight bringing residents and visitors to Antigua. That first American Airlines flight was flown by an Antiguan pilot who said he was proud to be able to bring about 100 of his countrymen home after being stuck overseas for months. It also brought about 60 tourists to Antigua, who can stay at one of about 10 resorts who have been inspected and received approval to reopen. Each tourist must take a COVID-19 test upon arrival. The newspaper reported that all 60 tested negative. Hooray!
We took advantage of the re-opening of “The Admiral’s Inn” by having lunch and a pool day at Boom. We pretended to be tourists or vacationers rather than salty sailors for an afternoon. It was a great way to celebrate the end of strict lockdown, even though there’s still a curfew in place from 9pm to 5am. (We’re not wearing masks in this photo, because we’re in the pool. But we have them, and all the staff wore them consistently)
So if you were thinking about visiting Antigua, this might be a good time! There’s plenty of room on the beaches for social distancing, the restaurants are open and serving delicious food, mangos are in season, and Antiguans are very welcoming. Just bring a mask and be prepared to follow the rules. Maybe I’ll see you on one of Antigua’s 365 beaches!