This information was updated on 22nd July 2020
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Government of Guyana responded promptly by cancelling all international passenger flights seven (7) days after the first imported case was confirmed. The closure started on 18 March, 2020 and the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority has since announced a phased re-opening approach to the airports.
Phase 1 (commenced June 2020) saw some repatriation charter flights being approved to bring locals home. Due to increased cases worldwide and the local numbers of confirmed cases increasing as more testing is being done, the country remains in partial lockdown until July 17 with Phase 1 airport re-opening extended to August 27 in keeping with the six phased approach that has been taken by the local National Task Force with the responsibility for guiding the country through its reopening process.
Phase 2 (August 2020) of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority’s plan to reopening our air borders will coincide with Phase 6 of the National Task Force’s plan to reopening the country and economy. This is scheduled for August 28, 2020 and will see the return of some commercial flights for Guyanese citizens, international workers and diplomats.
Phase 3 (September 2020) is proposed to have an expansion of commercial flights from September 30, 2020 that will allow other foreign nationals and travellers to enter Guyana.
Local or domestic travel is proposed to resume on July 17, 2020. This is being done in tandem with a phased opening approach for locals in the country, included a reduced curfew and stay a home order.
Plans to reopen to international tourism
The opening of our border for international air travel will follow the phased re-opening approach highlighted by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (highlighted below). Outside of this, the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) has created a living Hygiene and Sanitation Protocol (click here to view) that has been shared with all registered tourism businesses (operators, hotels, lodges, etc) to help create and inform their own policy. The GTA has placed a heavy emphasis on having this policy and tourism businesses regulated by the Authority will be subjected to a health and sanitation assessment before they can be deemed safe for re-opening, and become a licensed tourism business in Guyana. Travellers are also encouraged to ensure that they have health insurance prior to travel.
Guyana Civil Aviation Authority phased opening approach to our borders:
Phase 1 – July 2020: Ongoing repatriation flights
Phase 2 – August 28, 2020: Limited incoming commercial flights for Guyanese citizens, permanent residents, international workers and diplomats.
Phase 3 – September 30, 2020: Limited incoming commercial flights and open to foreign nationals. More international carriers are keen to enter the market at this time due to the combination of foreign and local nationals.
Phase 4 – October 2020: Expansion of flights
Once someone is travelling to Guyana, they will be asked to follow the below protocol:
Take a PCR Test 7 days before travel and submit a negative molecular result to the airline to be able to fly
Wear a face mask while in the airport (as per their policy) and during the flight
Upon arrival into Guyana, will be decontaminated by airport staff on the ground in Guyana (70% alcohol substance)
Complete and submit Health Information Form to the Port Health
Submit negative molecular PCR test results
Submit to temperature test and evaluation by the Port Health
Observe social distancing protocols
If found positive with symptoms of COVID-19, may warrant isolation/quarantine
Baggage and cargo will be decontaminated prior to leaving the premises
Flights from the UK
There are no direct routes into Guyana from the UK and so travel to Guyana entirely depends on the restrictions put in place by other nations. During lockdown only Barbados had direct flights to and from the United Kingdom however these direct flights to the UK from Barbados have now stopped and it is unclear when they will restart.
Eastern Airlines, American Airlines and Caribbean Airlines operate occasional charter flights between Guyana and the USA (scheduled flights to resume in August), however at present passengers are not able to transit in the USA if they have been to the UK, European Union Schengen Area or the Republic of Ireland in the last 14 days and will also require an ESTA to travel.
Plans for reopening other entry points,
Guyana is connected to Suriname through a ferry service and Brazil through land entry by road. Due to the growing numbers in our neighbouring countries, there is no information at this time about the re-opening dates. This will be approached with much caution to ensure the health and wellbeing of locals, communities and travellers.
What Covid 19-related safety measures can travellers expect?
The Chief Medical Officer from the Guyana Ministry of Public Health has urged people to exercise social distancing and carry out measures to reduce the spread of the virus.
The Government has introduced emergency COVID-19 Emergency Measures, which includes:
- curfew between 8pm and 6am
- essential businesses (supermarkets, markets, banks, etc) are allowed to be open from 6am-5pm
- hotels and lodges are allowed to be open for 24 hours
- social distancing and wearing of face masks protocols must be observed at ALL times
- face masks are required to be worn in public spaces
- except where provided in the Emergency Measures, every person should remain in the confines of their own home with the exception of ninety (90) minutes of exercise in open public spaces (social distancing observed)
- there are restrictions on all social activities. This includes planned activities along the sea wall (with the exception of exercise), attending bars and gymnasiums
- restaurants are allowed to be open from 6am-8pm for take-out, drive thru or delivery and outdoor dining can take place from 6am-6pm under strict COVID-19 guidelines
- no more than 10 persons are allowed to attend gatherings (including funeral or wedding)
- public transportation is allowed to operate at a 75% capacity to cater for social distancing protocols
- public and private sector employees can return to their place of business on a rotational basis
Other Covid 19-related safety measures
The Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) has created a living Hygiene and Sanitation Protocol (click here to view) that has been shared with all registered tourism businesses (operators, hotels, lodges, etc) to help create and inform their own policy. The GTA has placed a heavy emphasis on having this policy and tourism businesses regulated by the Authority will be subjected to a health and sanitation assessment before they can be deemed safe for re-opening, and become a licensed tourism business in Guyana. Travellers are also encouraged to ensure that they have health insurance prior to travel, be factual on any of your personal health information, be informed with the individual policy of your local tour operator/hotel/lodge and observe social distancing protocols.
Some our indigenous communities have been more challenged than other businesses in funding and securing the recommended products to carry this out. The GTA was able to provide COVID-19 Support Packages to indigenous communities tied to the tourism value chain. Though this is a pivot from what we intended in 2020, these packages serve a greater role in the development of these communities at this time.
Communities that are actively in the tourism licensing process and working with the GTA have benefited from a package that includes recommended Ecolab cleaning and sanitation products, infrared thermometers, cloth and sewing supplies for creating masks, knapsack sprayers to disinfect buildings and luggage etc, and signage on COVID-19. For communities not actively involved in tourism, the packages included sanitation products, cloth and sewing supplies for creating masks and signage on COVID-19. The support packages have be delivered with a training session done by Ecolab and Ministry of Public Health representatives and the GTA.
By nature of design, Guyana’s tourism product is not mass tourism or crowd based, and uniquely positioned to be one of the safest destinations in relation to social distancing. Our cases are currently very low (278 confirmed cases, 16 deaths and 121 recovered as of July 7, 2020 and we are doing everything possible to help minimise the spread and make Guyana safe for locals and travellers. Our indigenous communities in the rainforest and savannahs are the most at risk from cases being brought in to their communities. With this, we urge local and international travellers to also be cautious and safe, and observe the necessary protocols.
Kate McWilliams, MD of LOTUS LATAM
0207 953 7470
25 Eastcastle Street,
London, United Kingdom
Carla James, Director of Guyana Tourism Authority
National Exhibition Centre,