Statement from the Turks and Caicos Islands Ministry of Tourism on Border Closure

As the Turks and Caicos Islands and the world at large confront this COVID-19 pandemic, Cabinet has taken the difficult, yet necessary, steps to enact Emergency Powers which will result in the closure of our air and sea borders to the international traveling public for a period of 21 days as of 24th March 2020. This course of action will no doubt have a tremendous impact on our tourism and hospitality sector, however, it is essential to reduce the risk and exposure of the virus and to protect our residents and visitors.

Many of you from around the world, have visited our islands, year after year and have become a part of our extended family. While we bid farewell for now, I encourage each of you not to cancel your vacation to the Turks and Caicos this year, but rather postpone it to a later date. The Turks and Caicos Islands has shown in the past that our people and our tourism sector are resilient. We will not lose our desire to host you in our beautiful country, and once the all clear is given, by local and authorities in your respective countries, we would like the pleasure of your company again. Following the passage of this pandemic, on your return to our islands, be assured of the continued delivery of the high quality of service, the Turks and Caicos has become synonymous with. On behalf of the people of the Turks & Caicos Islands, I would like to again thank you for your patronage over the years.

The Ministry of Tourism through the Tourist Board commits to keeping you advised of developments regarding COVID-19 and its impact on our destination. Since the beginning of the outbreak, our team has made efforts to directly engage key stakeholders to ensure that the flow of information between all parties including the traveling public, is thorough, accurate and timely. We understand that as a result of the COVID-19 virus, many of you will no doubt be experiencing some difficulties and challenges, perhaps in an unprecedented way. We will continue to work in concert with the Ministry of Health, the lead agency tasked with monitoring the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) to provide you with the most up to date information, and we urge you to follow all protocols suggested by local authorities.

The Ministry of Tourism held a Stakeholders meeting with hoteliers, tour operators and public service drivers recently to address the anticipated fallout from COVID-19. At that meeting, the Ministry reaffirmed its commitment to do all that it can to protect this our country’s most vital industry. We will support all measures taken by the Government to secure the health and well-being of our people and visitors, and protect our country’s economy. However, do not expect business as usual. Our team will be reaching out to you over the next few days to gather the necessary data to assist the Government in exploring the best possible way to assist you as we navigate through this unprecedented pandemic.

We support the nation-wide educational campaign underway by the Ministry of Health. We would like to urge you, residents and visitors to follow recommended hygiene practices which can be used to prevent the spread of the virus:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. • Stay home when you are sick and do not travel. • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. • Staying home when you are sick is recommended every flu season, but especially important now.

For more information and continued updates on the COVID-19 virus in the TCI, contact the Ministry of Health via 649-338-0911 or 649-232-9444 and https://www.gov.tc/moh/ or by emailing covid19@gov.tc.

Don’t cancel, postpone!

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