BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - MINISTER of Tourism Lindsay Grant has responded to questions about the way the reopening of the borders later this month will affect businesses along the Frigate Bay Strip in the wake of COVID-19.
In his interview with SKNVibes News, Minister Grant reminded that it would not be business as usual for those establishments on the Strip when the borders reopen on October 31, as the new COVID-19 restrictions are expected to be adhered to.
The Minister expressed optimism that the increase in travellers would spur more business activity for those establishments and others at the popular hangout location.
“We are hopeful that with the increase in passengers coming in from October 31 will have an increased demand at the bars. We don’t expect it to be at the rate they would come in the peak season of tourism,” the Minister said.
Under the new reopening requirements, persons entering the Federation from the CARICOM Bubble and are negative will not have to be quarantined. However, those from outside of the Bubble coming for up to one week will have to go to their hotel and that will be done in a quarantine setting and they will be able to take quarantine tours, but not be allowed to integrate with the populace.
On the flip side, those persons who are entering the Federation outside of the CARICOM Bubble to spend more than 14 days will have to subject themselves to the mandatory quarantine before being allowed to integrate.
Minister Grant acknowledged that given the condition of the quarantine at the moment, persons coming for the short term would not be able to imbibe or hangout at bars, and, as a result, the bar owners would not benefit from that segment of the tourism community.
Grant said he is hopeful that over time the protocols would change to allow for more opportunities for those owners.
The Minister noted that tourism officials expect hotels and smaller businesses would partner to provide a service to many of those who are not able to leave the confines of their hotels.
“Tourism is all about us and everyone must be part of it. We are going to be speaking with the hotels and we are very open to that kind of dynamic and that kind of cooperation, ” he added.
Meanwhile, Grant noted that over the years LIAT has been playing a very significant tole inn the tourism sector in St. Kitts and Nevis and the rest of the region, but, since the presence of COVID-19, inter-island connectivity has been disrupted.
“For the first thing, we would welcome LIAT back. But as it is right now, I don’t know what the correct situation is with LIAT, but we recognise during this COVID period the significant role LIAT has been playing throughout the years. We would need to do something in the Caribbean to ensure that that inter-island connectivity remains.”