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Panama

This information was updated on 3rd March 2021.

Current situation

As of December 21, Panama has temporarily suspended the entrance of people who have originated or transited from the UK or South Africa within the past 20 days.

As of January 14th, 2021, new mobility restrictions are in place as well as mandatory curfew at night time. Beaches are currently open for visitors during mobility hours, however other attractions are closed, with scheduled reopening throughout February and March.

Prior to travelling - requirements to enter Panama

  • Travellers will be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken no more than 48 hours prior to their arrival time in Panama.
  • If a test is not possible within that time frame, a COVID-19 rapid test will be mandated at the airport before customs and the traveller will have to cover the costs of said test. (USD$ 50).
  • There are currently no restrictions on entry from any country.
  • Health insurance is not a requirement for entry but is highly recommended
  • We do not recommend the use or carrying of non-essential items onboard such as blankets or pillows in order to minimize the risk of cross-contamination.
  • We encourage all travellers to check travel restrictions from your departure country and country of citizenship.
  • Prior to check-in, all incoming travellers will be required to complete an Electronic Affidavit (sworn statement) agreeing to:
    • Comply with all sanitary control measures outlined by the Ministry of Health of Panama.
    • Provide localization information for residence while in Panama.
    • Confirm that you are healthy (no symptoms of any respiratory illness) and that you have not been exposed to COVID-19 within the last fourteen (14) days.

Filling out your Affidavit step by step:

  1. Start by registering on the Panamá Digital platform HERE.
  2. Select your language preference at the upper right corner (ES/EN = Spanish/English).
  3. Complete the fields of passport and personal information for foreigners or ID for Panamenians and residents. Click on the REGISTER button.
  4. A confirmation message sent by noreply-pruebas@avisos.panamatramita.gob.pa  will arrive at your email which you will access in order to create your password with the following standard:
    – 8 characters or more
    – A minimum of: 1 uppercase letter, 1 lowercase letter and 1 number.
    – Special characters are not allowed.
  5. Once your password has been established, access this LINK and select the LOGIN button to start your session at Panamá Digital, using your email and the password created.
  6. After logging in, on the main navigation menu, select TRÁMITES, which will deploy a sub menu where you should select DECLARACIÓN JURADA DE SALUD DE PASAJEROS PARA INGRESAR A PANAMÁ.
  7. Fill out all the information required and then click on ENVIAR.
  8. You will receive a confirmation email with a file containing a QR code.
  9. For the validation at the airport, have your documents and the QR code ready to be shown on your smartphone. It is not necessary to have it printed out.
  10. In case of doubts or problems to fill out the form, please contact Panamá Digital by calling: +507 300 2187 or writing to: info@311.gob.pa
  • Passengers that fail to follow protocols may not enter the country or may be sanctioned according to Panamanian laws.
  • Surgical face masks are always required except for:
    • Momentary removal for identification purposes in security checkpoints, immigration, etc. always respecting the social distancing of 2 meters.
    • Infants aged two or younger.
    • Passengers with a different illness other than COVID-19 that prevents breathing with a mask.

Note: In the case of people with an illness other than COVID-19 which prevents them from breathing with the surgical mask, they must use a face shield and a medical certificate must be presented indicating the illness they suffer from and the medical recommendation that they should not use such personal protective equipment.

Flights from the UK

The borders opened on the 12th of October. 

All airlines are resuming their flights to Panamá in October and November with the exception of LH which will resume in April 2021.

Plans for reopening other entry points

Regarding to entry ports such as cruise ports and other port operators, we estimate to restart operations during the second semester of 2020. Although our ports are likely to reopen at the end of 2020 as our cruise season starts, it is difficult to estimate since most cruise lines that operate in and have transit through Panama come from the United States or Europe, and there might be further delays in the arrivals and transits of these cruise ships. Considering the effects of this pandemic on the cruise industry in general, we understand that in the USA, most cruise ports and lines have postponed activity until September 2020, but focusing on their domestic markets.

As far as bio-security, health and sanitation standards and requirements, the Panama Tourism Authority has been working with the relevant industry experts to develop the guidelines to be followed, with previous approval of the Ministry of Health Panama (MINSA) and Immigration authorities, to ensure that our protocols meet international standards, keeping the safety and security of international visitors and locals and continuing to develop the tourism sector properly.

What Covid 19-related safety measures can travellers expect?

Upon entering the country, passengers that fail to follow protocols may not enter the country or may be sanctioned according to Panamanian laws.

Surgical face masks are always required except for:

    • Momentary removal for identification purposes in security checkpoints, immigration, etc. always respecting the social distancing of 2 meters.
    • Infants aged two or younger.
    • Passengers with a different illness other than COVID-19 that prevents breathing with a mask.

Note: In the case of people with an illness other than COVID-19 which prevents them from breathing with the surgical mask, they must use a face shield and a medical certificate must be presented indicating the illness they suffer from and the medical recommendation that they should not use such personal protective equipment.

Face masks need to be in optimal condition and must be worn properly. Wet, dirty, or damaged masks must be replaced as soon as possible.

  • Passengers should maintain physical distance, a minimum of two (2) meters in the airport facilities.
  • If a passenger’s COVID-19 test was taken more than 48 hours before arriving at the airport, they will be mandated to take a rapid COVID-19 test at the airport before customs and the traveler will have to cover the costs of said test.
    • If the test results are positive, the Panamanian government will facilitate a hotel stay at no cost to the traveler for a mandatory quarantine period.
  • Passengers are subject to temperature screening upon entering the airport.
  • If exhibiting an elevated body temperature or any COVID-19 related symptoms, travelers will be subject to a rapid COVID-19 test at the traveler’s expense and/or additional health screening, in order to take the necessary precautions.
    • Passengers will remain isolated until results have been obtained.
    • If results come back positive, the passenger will be placed under quarantine for in a hotel designated by the Ministry of Health. Upon seven (7) days, an antigen rapid test will be taken. If results are negative the quarantine will end. If results are positive the visitor will remain in quarantine until tested negative. .
  • The Ministry of Health can perform random rapid testing at any time.
  • The same requirements as set forth above shall be applicable to visitors who arrive on private flights.

What to expect during your stay in Panama

During your stay in Panama, you must do the following:

  • Facemasks will be required in any means of transportation.
  • Wash hands as frequently as possible, especially when:
    • Entering and leaving the public transport.
    • Touching frequently touched surfaces. (handles, handrails, chairs, doors, taps, etc.)
  • Keep distance from other passengers.
  • Cover the mouth and nose with the angle of the arm or with a disposable tissue when coughing or sneezing, throw it away and wash hands.
  • Do not consume any food or drinks while inside the transportation.
  • Avoid talking to other passengers, the vehicle driver or on a cell phone while in the vehicle. If necessary to speak, do not remove your mask while doing so.
  • Consider the use of natural ventilation while in a taxi cab or similar (open a window).
  • Transportation companies will be:
    • Utilizing masks, performing hand hygiene and maintaining distancing.
    • Implementing mechanisms to monitor strict compliance with these measures.
    • Having a staff to monitor compliance in all areas: waiting areas (terminals, paid areas), upon entry and within transport units.
    • Taking employees temperatures on a daily basis at the beginning of each day.
    • Improving the Ventilation System of waiting rooms and vehicles.

The government has announced a gradual reopening plan for attractions and activities. Dates are subject to change depending on health conditions:

  • AS OF MARCH 1ST
    • Beaches, rivers, pools (in social areas as well as hotels) and parks are open for visitors only during mobility hours.
      • In the provinces of Panamá, Panamá Oeste, Coclé, Veraguas, Los Santos and Herrera, beaches are only open from 6:00 AM to 4:00 PM during the week and closed on the weekends.
    • Outdoor exercise and activities are permitted during mobility hours as long as they’re contactless and abiding to social distancing guidelines.
    • Restaurants are open for clients. Please find more information on restaurante safety measures below.
    • Stores, beauty salons, barber shops and daycare centers are open for clients.
    • Carwashes, tailor shops, shoe repair shops, non-essential industries, cultural industries, and restaurants are open for clients.
    • Gyms, spas, fishing, race tracks are open for clients.
  • ON MARCH 6TH
    • Movie Theatres and Casinos will reopen for visitors.

 

At the hotel:

  • Reception areas will have physical separation barriers such as protective glass or acrylic sheets.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be available in public places, for the use of visitors and/or guests.
  • Lobbies and waiting rooms will be cleaned three (3) times per day.
    Hotel elevators will be cleaned and disinfected every two (2) hours.
  • Everyone must comply with the maximum capacity for elevators.
  • Buffets will not be available, only a la carte in hotel restaurants or room service.
  • Hotel reception lines are available for any questions or concerns regarding health. Hotels will organize transportation to medical centers if needed.
  • All of the measures established by the Ministry of Health have been implemented in children’s play areas, spas, gyms, beauty salons, casinos – ensuring constant cleaning and disinfection of spaces, tools, games, furniture, equipment, machinery, etc.

In restaurants:

  • Restaurants may operate by reservation system in order to avoid crowding.
  • Tables separated by a distance of at least two (2) meters.
  • Individual packages for salt, pepper, shakers, and sauces.
  • Standing menu and/or digital menus accessible via smartphone or disposable menus.
  • Buffets will not be available.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available at tables or in higher circulation areas.
  • All restaurants have had protocols validated by MINSA and have reopened as of September 28th.

Tours and visiting attractions:

  • Reduced capacity (50%) for shared ground transportation vehicles.
  • Event spaces are limited to 30% capacity and four (4) people per table.
  • Marina capacity limited to 25%.
  • Digital maps should be accessed via smartphones.
  • Golf courses will be open (no use of rakes, removing flags, or shared carts).
  • Touristic activities, cultural and creative attractions, libraries, movies and theaters, casinos and others will be enforcing the safety protocols and may be operating with lower capacity and restricted schedules.

Upon departure from Panama

  • COVID-19 Testing is available for Departing Passengers from Tocumen International Airport.
    • The center is open from 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
    • The cost of the COVID-19 rapid test is $50.00 USD and the result takes around 40 minutes.
    • The service is first come first serve, so we encourage all passengers that want to get tested to arrive with enough time before their flight.
  • Face masks are required at all times (except for momentary removal for identification purposes in security checkpoints, immigration, etc.).
  • Temperature screening upon entering the airport.
  • Expect sanitizing mats when entering Tocumen International Airport to disinfect shoes and luggage wheels.
  • We encourage all travelers to check travel restrictions of your destination country and airport.

Panama Destination Update - 11th August 2020

Contact details

Eugenia Powell – Sales Director PROMTUR epowell@visitpanama.com
Luciana Kramer – Sales Manager LEISURE PROMTUR lkramer@visitpanama.com
Tatiana Ângulo – Sales Manager MICE PROMTUR tangulo@visitpanama.com