Flight Cancelled

Just as a note to anyone wondering about getting to the DR....

Our flight to Punta Cana on May 20  (from the US) was cancelled by the airline. I was fortunate that they gave me a refund instead of forcing me to take a voucher\credit.

Next I get to deal with Travelocity - they are so swamped, their message says they can't help anyone that is not within 72 hours of their trip.

Super bummed about this trip getting cancelled, but we plan to reschedule when things return to some level of normalcy......

No one knows where we will be down here in the Caribbean over the coming weeks with covid19, but the general hope in the DR hotel industry is to open the hotels at the end of May and many are suggesting that. This may be optimistic.

A number of the boutique resorts are considering being closed until the start of the next high season at the start of November.

I guess it is a wait and see for airlines, but most of the Caribbean islands will be closed to incoming flights up to end of April (DR is currently 3rd April but President has powers to extend until later in April) and maybe longer or with perhaps 14 day quarantine measures in place for arrivals from infected countries.

This situation is very problematic for all the Caribbean islands and resort destinations regionally and worse so because of the fast growing very high infection rates in Europe and North America which are their main markets for tourism.

Good to hear the airlines are being realistic, at least this one.

Don't worry, we will still be here when things settle down again.

Air Canada cancelled my April 30th return flight to Canada last week. The Canadian Embassy did contact me to advise on the repatriation flights out of Puerto Plata. They contacted me a day before those flights ended, March 26th. I decided not to drive across the country from Casa de Campo and hunker down here in on the south coast.

I made the mistake of booking a May 1st return ticket on Air Transat who is offering return flights after blanking out their calendar thru March and April. I find it hard to believe they will now honour that flight.

I re-located from Casa de Campo to La Romana yesterday to offer security / support to a friend with a large BnB who lost all her staff. We have a back up of 5 dogs. There is a curfew here from 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. and a nation wide lock down until June 1st. If anyone hears of more repatriation flights, please advise.

Nationwide lock down until  June 1 is confirmed?

That's what my Dominican friends tell me....

Current decree expires 3rd April but the President has the power to extend a further 10 days and I am sure he will. After that wait and see.

Too much rumour rather than fact on social media.

This is as per the President's speech from March 25 (President Danilo's speech from March 25: (https://www.primeradama.gob.do/index.ph … oronavirus):

"These measures, like those of the “Stay at home” program, will be in force, for the time being, from April 1 to May 31."

"Estas medidas, al igual que las del programa “Quédate en casa” estarán vigentes, por el momento, desde el 1 abril hasta el 31 de mayo."

This sounds an awful lot like stay at home until May 31st.

No that is incorrect.  The programs are in place to may 31. 

The govt must extend the queda en casa!  And they must extend the emergency powers as well.

Understood as follows:

Decree 62-20 of 19th March keeps the emergency powers in place for the period of 25 days.

The Stay at Home initiative is to continue until May 31 with the financial benefits it brings.

I suspect emergency powers may be extended come the end of the 25 days and perhaps the Stay at Home initiative will be enforced in the next few days with full curfew at least to the end of the current 25 days emergency power period.

And realistically there will be no 'tourist' flights until June at the earliest.

I expect the emergency powers.will be extended and this the quede en casa will be both extended and amplified

The question of when flights will resume for people visiting DR keeps cropping up amongst expats who have left or who are overseas.

Departing DR is another subject and will continue on arranged flights.

Realistically you need to look at your own country first and try and work out when it will have controlled the virus down to a few cases and there is no importation risk to smaller nations in the Caribbean who may have controlled the virus.

A couple of weeks back the idea of DR citizens and residents wishing to travel abroad could do so provided they understood that if they had been to a country with active cases, they would have to go into quarantine on arrival (PRM, Abinader). That makes absolute sense because why would a small nation go through such hardships and be at risk of imported infections as China has now shown.

Don't think that because tourism is so important to the economy that they will open up soonest. There is no point if you quickly get negative publicity about covid19 spread again. Personally I think the best possibility for opening tourism regionally is November with a gradual opening earlier for local tourism and limited 'clear' countries.

Look at Europe and the USA and honestly ask yourself when the covid19 situation will be controlled and down to a few cases from the very large active case numbers today. It will be end of summer at best is probably the right conclusion. What goes up to wherever the peak is, has to come down and the descent with tail is longer than the ascent and after that there is a potential contagious period.

We are all in the unknown but each and every one of us needs to focus on control in our own country as the prime objective to open travel opportunities again.

Well said!

So there are no flights from North coming into DR until June?...why does it seem some airlines are still operating? AA?

Some flights are operating but very very few.  They are bringing in Dominicans and taking out expats. 

As of yet you cannot count on any flights to be regularised.  And no one know when that will change.

I would add that the Dominican nationals that are returning are being required to quarantine for at least 14 days in a government facility. Some have decided not to come because of this requirement.

This is WHO/PAHO protocol for international travellers arriving from affected countries.

also..

This article has been widely posted in the travel media over the past week and gives one an idea of the thinking post covid19:

HOW SOON CAN WE FLY AFTER COVID-19 AND WHAT WILL IT LOOK LIKE?

https://www.airlineratings.com/news/soo … look-like/

How soon are we going to be allowed to travel freely after COVID-19 is over and what will it look like?

Those are the questions everyone is asking in every corner of the globe.

We love to travel, it’s in our genes and no what the obstacle, we have always found a way to move about.

But now, closed borders and 14-days quarantine have killed off all but the most desperate trips.

And politicians messaging is confused and contradictory when we need calm thoughtful facts or at least realistic forecasts and hope!

And some of the media are not helping looking for the most dramatic headlines.

What may occur is that states and or countries that have beaten COVID-19 and whose health policies and systems are aligned may open their borders.

One such example may be down-under in Western Australia and New Zealand. The western state of Australia (WA) is leading the way on COVID-19 and New Zealand is the most advanced country in the western world in combating the virus as it shutdown very early.

If WA and New Zealand can agree policies international travel could be re-opened between them as a trial.

Then possibly other Australian states, such as South Australia, could follow.

What is needed across the world are clear guidelines from WHO on the criteria for “beating the virus.”

We may find that some countries are isolated well into 2021.

But one thing is for sure all international borders will not suddenly open – it will be a country by country or state by state process.

And when we do get back in the air, particularly for international travel, what is it going to look like?

Cheap fares alone will not get the majority back into the air. They will need to be convinced that their fellow passengers are COVID-19 free.

The only guaranteed way to achieve that is for airport testing to be introduced. A new test that takes 15 minutes may be required but it will be very costly and time consuming.

Perhaps a COVID-19 free certificate within 5-days of travel may be the answer plus temperature checks at the airport.

Onboard, flight attendants with masks and gloves and possibly the passengers the same may be the new face of air travel.

And onboard meal delivery may look very different with flair giving way to packaged product in the premium classes.

Airlines may need to disinfect their aircraft after every flight not just once a day.



There is also research now taking place into changing seating configurations on aircraft assuming a long  term problem with covid19:

https://www.businesstraveller.com/busin … -covid-19/

I would be very concerned by this in a country like DR

"Perhaps a COVID-19 free certificate within 5-days of travel may be the answer plus temperature checks at the airport".

Have worked and operated airports around the the world DR is far behind western countries.  Most of the time I go through SD or POP their operating procedures leaves a lot to be desired.

Ducketts

Well written thought provoking article by David Jessop in Dominican Today about the future for the Caribbean and tourism which may be of interest to those wondering about when flying again in the region will resume:

Balanced tourism recovery a key to future Caribbean growth

https://dominicantoday.com/dr/opinion/2 … an-growth/

...........Nonetheless, the greatest immediate challenge, absent either a vaccine and/or some form of reliable visitor health certification, is that the virus could asymptomatically be imported into the region from countries that have not done enough, have failed to deliver an efficient response, or are simply in denial.

Without a vaccine, such an eventuality will remain politically and electorally sensitive for several years and have xenophobic implications. It will also impact on the frequency of air and sea lift, foreign relations, public health policy, taxation, food security, insurance provisions, and much else, well before the marketing specialists are able to address consumer perception.

Jim Hepple of Tourism Analytics in Aruba believes that governments will be so concerned about importing the virus that US residents in particular travelling to and from the Caribbean will require government approved health documentation to board flights and pass immigration, and on return to the US may for a period be subject to some sort of quarantine, making questionable the idea of a short or even two week vacation...........

...........It may also be the case that not every category of visitor the Caribbean has welcomed in the past will wish to or be able to travel. Older travellers may be reluctant and may no longer be able to obtain medical or travel insurance for nations deemed to be at higher risk. Moreover, hotels and other visitor facilities may be cautious about litigation and insurance should the virus reappear in a manner traceable to one of their properties or facilities..............


To add, this sort of narrative is being discussed across many - perhaps most - countries in the world and is perhaps the more realistic view of a future with restricted borders. Our American members are clearly worried hearing of these potential restrictions going forward which are contrary to the more optimistic outcomes that they are being fed daily. Many left fearing bad outcomes here and are anxious to return and residency will certainly help.  but don't assume that because an airline posts a potential flight later this summer it may happen at all or without restrictions.

We are yet to see how the DR will react and there are voices who advocate a more relaxed approach but they are still a minority. Eliminating covid19 remains the goal regionally it appears. It is painful to all Dominicans and residents going through this process which started 5 weeks ago for us.

We know so little right now and need to watch how this pandemic - which is in it's early stages - develops and how societies react.

Interesting!  It certainly isn't going to be easy!

Very interesting...our situation is a bit different...we plan to fly ourselves in our own plane...and we own a home...so no planes/hotel to worry about...but, we need to wait until stay at home orders are rescinded here and there! We are in withdrawal...need to see palm trees again...winter won’t let go!!!

Yes you are in a unique situation.  I assume you have residency?  Those with citizenship and residency are treated differently!

This could be another nail in the coffin for an early restart of international travel/tourism:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-52425825

Coronavirus: Immunity passports ‘could increase virus spread’

..............Passports too risky - for now
Analysis by Rachel Schraer, BBC health reporter

The WHO's guidance is based on evidence from researchers all around the world. But it could well change as we rapidly learn more about this virus.

There isn't currently any evidence to suggest having had the virus once protects you from getting it again. So the idea of an "immunity passport", allowing people who test positive for antibodies to have fewer restrictions, would be a very risky one.

Many countries including Germany, Italy and the UK are beginning to test samples of their populations for antibodies. In the UK, 25,000 people will be tested every month for the next year - both for antibodies, and to check if they currently have the virus.

This could provide more information about whether (and for how long) the disease confers immunity to those who have recovered. And that would give us a clearer idea about whether testing individuals and giving them some kind of immunity status might be an option in the future.

UK is proposing a 2 week quarantine for all arriving passengers

Quite right

If all countries did this we might get some flights moving again.

Ducketts

WillieWeb :

UK is proposing a 2 week quarantine for all arriving passengers

DR has been doing this for several weeks for Dominicans returning home. This is recommended WHO/PAHO protocol.

They go into government controlled shelters for 14 days quarantine and get tested on arrival too.

https://www.elcaribe.com.do/2020/04/20/cuarentena-para-quienes-regresan-al-pais-un-proceso-necesario-rodeado-de-incertidumbre/
..........
Process

On the ferry flight in which Ismael arrived, 141 nationals also came, leaving from Fort Lauderdale International Airport, on Spirit Airlines. Before boarding the plane, all passengers underwent a medical examination by Dr. Mónica Dorvil-Bello, president of the Florida Dominican Health Association (Dohcaf).

Likewise, Dominican citizens completed a form about their medical history, in which they also accepted various provisions and requirements, including remaining in mandatory quarantine, established by the High Level Commission for the prevention and control of the coronavirus.

So far, about a thousand Dominicans stranded abroad have been transferred to the country, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mirex), an entity that coordinates with the embassies and consulates of different countries to manage the return.

When they arrive in the country, they are received by personnel from the Ministry of Defense, the entity that protects the isolation centers, and from the Ministry of Public Health, who interview them and proceed to perform the rapid test.

As explained by Dr. Jeffry Gutiérrez, this rapid test consists of measuring the immunoglobulin G (IgG) and immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies in the blood.

If this is negative, they must be transferred to one of the centers, which are currently in Santo Domingo, Santiago, Boca Chica, Jarabacoa, Hermanas Mirabal, San Francisco de Macorís, among others.

If the test is positive, a second test called RT-PCR (real-time polymerase chain reaction) is performed, which will give the definitive diagnosis. This sample, according to Gutiérrez, is taken with a sterile swab from the patient's nasopharynx or sputum.........

Helps people get home but does not assist with tourism.  This is really not different then ferry flights, you get home you quarentine.

Anyone have any updates on non residents who were stuck unable to leave?

No

We're stuck here as well and we've registered for repatriation flights but there is little movement for these in DR.  It seems you need to be in Pakistan or India where there many more people to have any chance of repatriation.

We need to get back.  Just found out where we live, shops and schools are opening up next week and there are very few cases of Covid-19 and only 24 in the main hospital.

Ducketts

There are repatriation flights from Santo domingo and punta Cana.  AA is still flying and I believe Delta but not certain on them

The problem with that is that these flights go to the US.  Many of us can't go there because the US insist on a Transit Visa C1 which is of course is ridiculous and in the current situation impossible to get as it requires an interview at the US consulate.  The whole point of transit is not to have a Visa and to be a controlled secure area from the aircraft and back to the aircraft for departure.

Ducketts

What happens they won't let you board or they send you back when you get to US?

If the airline staff are doing their job and understand the regulations-which sometimes they don't, then you  will be denied boarding if you don't have the correct paperwork/Visa

Ducketts

Yes, that is happening here (RD).....

without proper paperwork or passport.... no boarding
Cases have been reported

Yes your situation is different.  You need a flight to Europe. 

Most expats wanting to leave are from USA and Canada.  Those flights continue apparently so contact the airlines directly.

Canadian flights still ?

and even Cdns may not be able to transit thru USA
The countries have a joint agreement - essential workers only can cross

Canada is turning away asylum seekers I read -

Apparently Canadians can transit the USA as.long as they are in and out in 24 hours.  I know of several who flew to USA, rented a car and drive to Canada. You must have a clear quarentine plan once you enter Canada to get in.

Now, that may change based on what happened in Puerto Plata yesterday.  We will watch and see.

Its not very clear what is comming with travel restrictions, or how many flights will have the airlines when countries open borders, the best that expats can do is contact their embassies and get informmed about how possible and when can go back home.

Airlines keeps pushing the restart of services and reprogramming new dates as goverment also keep doing the same with the close of the borders.

The most lucky getting back home are people living in USA where every week Delta and Jetblue have few fllights a week to JFK like today that arround noon will be landing both in SDQ and SJU to Santo Domingo, American didnt do so many and United cancelled all their flights and didnt make repatriations flights from DR.

They have programmed flights starting June 2 but they are just programmed and can be changed.

From Canada or Europe no more repatriations flights till now. 

About hotels very few said plan open un June 01 and most of them planned to reopen in Nov 2020, this date is more realistic but nothing for sure yet whit the mess that all countries are facing.  We must be positive and think that at least end of this year we will start to see some light in the tunel for international flights, meanwhile keep enjoying our country and stay safe.

There are no flights to Europe.

There are many Europeans here in DR who can't get back.  There are no repatriation flights.

I see Iberia & Air Europe have re scheduled start dates on 26 June and then daily from July 1.  We will see.  Tui Fly from 24 May  Condor Airlines from end of May

Unless the DR Gov do proper testing at airports there is no chance of any of these flights happening.

While Europe is beginning to relax their countries lock-downs DR continues to suffocate its tourist with no real controls anywhere-just look at what happened yesterday in Puerta Plata.

Ducketts

14 Day Government controlled quarantine for everybody returning

130 Dominicans who returned from the US are quarantined

https://www.diariolibre.com/actualidad/ … KK18476729

The Ministry of Public Health ordered that 130 Dominicans who arrived through this one end last Saturday, coming from the United States where they were stranded, to be quarantined in the vicinity of the Customs Club on the margin of the Las Americas Highway.

The authorities of the José Francisco Peña Gómez terminal received the 130 Dominicans who arrived on board a special flight managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Creoles were transported to AILA on a Delta Airlines flight, which took off from the John F. Kennedy terminal in New York City, the one most affected by the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

The group is made up of 65 men and 65 women and arrived in the country on flight number 8871, at 12:34 minutes.

According to information from airport authorities, Dominicans underwent health checks prior to boarding, in the United States.

According to the information offered at this terminal, upon arrival at the AILA, the passengers were expected by medical personnel, assigned to the Ministry of Defense, who were assisted by epidemiologist and infectious doctors to subject the group to security measures. health due to the COVID pandemic -19.

The coordination of the arrival of the Dominicans, who had been stranded in New York City since the Dominican government decreed the closure of the borders, was led by personnel from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while, at AILA, senior officials from the Specialized Corps of Airport Security and Civil Aviation, led the reception and security protocols.

Passengers were filtered at the AILA by rigorous sanitary measures, including fumigation upon leaving the aircraft, individual temperature measurements, rapid detection tests for COVID-19, among other verification processes.

Physicians from the Ministries of Public Health and Defense were present at the reception, as well as Generals Santo Domingo Guerrero Clase, director of the J-6 MIDE intelligence services and Aracenis Castillo de la Cruz, director of the Airport Security Corps.

The 130 Dominicans will have to assume a 14-day quarantine, starting last Saturday, where a medical team will follow up to determine their dispatch to each one of them to their homes.

At least the Gov got that right!

Ducketts

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