This information was updated on 3rd December 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 September 30 with only Guyana nationals, international workers and diplomats allowed to return on one of the scheduled repatriation flights once they have completed the repatriation form and process.
Phase 2 (October 12, 2020) will see the return of some commercial flights for Guyanese citizens, international workers and diplomats without the requirement of the repatriation form but may require a Passenger Locator Form.
Phase 3 (November 2020) has seen an expansion of commercial flights that allows other foreign nationals and travellers to enter Guyana.
Phase 4 (TBD – possibly 2021) will see the expansion of flight routes in and out of the country to provide more service for inbound and outbound tourists.
Travel to and from Suriname through the Moleson Creek Crossing will be open from December 12, 2020, under the port health measures issued by the Ministry of Health.
Local or domestic travel has been restricted and closed off in the most affected and vulnerable areas, and only allowed once the tourism business has been deemed safe ( inspected by the Guyana Tourism Authority and given official permission by the National COVID-19 Task Force). You can only travel there if a pass is granted for emergency/essential purposes. As of date, Region 7 is the only region Guyana where travel is fully restricted.
You can learn more about the current process for travelling to Guyana at https://guyanatravel.gy/.
Process for travelling to Guyana
- Effective Monday, October 12, 2020 the Ministry of Health will only accept molecular biological PCR tests approved by the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization. All tests must be done at an accredited lab.
- Persons travelling to Guyana must do a molecular biological PCR Test for COVID-19.
- If the test was completed within 72 hours of the flight and the result of that test is negative, the passenger will be free to leave the airport after arrival.
- However, if the PCR test is done within four to seven (4-7) days of travel, the passenger will be required to do another test upon arrival in Guyana, notwithstanding the earlier negative result.
- People travelling to Guyana are required to upload the negative PCR test result when completing the Passenger Locator Form. The form should be completed at least 24 hours before travel.
- The negative test result will have to be produced or shown to the airline operator during the check-in process
- The negative test result will also have to be produced or shown to the Port Health Officials on arrival to Guyana.
- The Test result is valid for 7 days from the date the sample was collected.
- Rapid Test, Anti-body or Antigen tests are NOT acceptable for travel to Guyana.
- Results from home-based test kits will NOT be accepted
- Test results must be Negative or Not Detected
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 that has been shared with all registered tourism businesses (operators, hotels, lodges, etc) to help create and inform their 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 before travel.
Guyana Civil Aviation Authority phased opening approach to our borders:
- Phase 1 – March 18 – October 11: Ongoing repatriation flights.
- Phase 2 – October 12: Limited incoming commercial flights for Guyanese citizens, permanent residents, international travellers, international workers and diplomats.
- Phase 3 – November 2020 (currently): Expansion of incoming commercial flights.
- Phase 4 – TBD (possibly 2021): Expansion of flights.
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.
Trans Guyana Airways is operating commercial flights between Barbados and Guyana. Eastern Airlines, American Airlines and Caribbean Airlines are set to operate commercial flights between Guyana and the USA, 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. Copa Airlines is operating commercial flights from Panama.
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 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 10:30pm and 4am
- essential businesses (supermarkets, markets, banks, etc) are allowed to be open from 6am-9:30pm
- hotels are allowed to be open for 24 hours (some services restricted)
- interior lodges and resorts, and tour companies are allowed to begin operations once inspected by the Guyana Tourism Authority, comply with health and safety protocols and officially signed off by the National COVID-19 Task Force after the GTA’s recommendation to reopen.
- social distancing and wearing of face masks protocols must be observed at ALL times
- face masks are required to be worn in public spaces and transportation with more than one person inside.
- 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 (which is allowed at a 50% capacity by appointment only).
- restaurants are allowed to be open from 4am-9:30pm for take-out, drive thru, delivery, and outdoor dining (ensuring that all tables are 6 ft apart from one another and no more than 4 persons at a table)
- 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
- 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 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 been delivered with a training session done by Ecolab and Ministry of 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 (4323 confirmed cases, 130 deaths and 3394 recovered as of November 4, 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.
Guyana Destination Update - 11th August 2020
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,