Cuba Is Taking Extra Precautions to Keep Foreigners Separate While Restarting Tourism

Lead Photo: Dogs in front of the Cuban flag in Havana, Cuba. Getty Images
Dogs in front of the Cuban flag in Havana, Cuba. Getty Images
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Cuba relies heavily on tourism, with about five and four million people arriving on the island in 2018 and 2019, respectively. However, the pandemic has thrown most tourism industries into chaos as countries grapple with loosening business and border restrictions while protecting citizens. But Cuba is working on a way to both reopen for tourists and keep their coronavirus numbers at bay.

The Associated Press reports that the Cuban government is planning to send visitors to five islands for all-inclusive vacations that will keep them separated from the rest of the country. According to the AP, tourists will take charter flights to the islands and get tested for the virus upon arrival. If they test negative, they’ll move on into their hotels or onto one of the smaller keys by bus or ferries. If they test positive, they’ll be “isolated” and eventually get sent back home.

Many details have yet to emerge, and it’s still unclear when exactly tourists will be allowed to begin arriving in Cuba, given travel restrictions in other countries.

Cases in Cuba have fallen to less than 10 a day recently. To ensure that tourists don’t reintroduce the virus, they won’t be allowed to rent cars or visit areas outside of the designated resort areas. Additionally, tourist buses taking people back and forth will be prohibited from stopping along the way and they’ll each be equipped with police officers to enforce the rules. Hotel workers will work for seven days, then take seven days off to self-isolate.

The AP notes that the Cuban plan is similar to ways in which Fidel Castro kept Cubans isolated from tourist areas in the past.