Aruba Crushed The Coronavirus Curve

Aruba is now officially COVID-19 free after reporting its first coronavirus case on March 13, 2020. 

It’s been over a month since Aruba registered a new coronavirus case.

The last patient with coronavirus left the hospital this week after being isolated for several days in intensive care at the hospital.

How Did Aruba Crush The Coronavirus Curve?

Health leaders such as the World Health Organization advised countries around the globe to help flatten the curve, and Aruba did it.

Aruba managed not only to flatten the curve but brought the number of active cases all the way down to zero. 

This accomplishment is due to the public department of health and government testing strategy called “search and destroy”. Testing as many people as possible with symptoms, and isolating positive cases to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The coronavirus curve was also crushed due to several safety measures put in place by the Government to stop the spread such as curfews (toque de queda), shelter in place, samenscholingsverbod (ban on large group gatherings). 

Another key to winning the battle against active coronavirus cases was the Aruban community that was urged to call their doctor if any symptoms related to COVID-19 was felt.

A total of 101 coronavirus cases were detected on the island since the first imported case on March 13, 2020. Unfortunately, 3 people died from the virus.

Will Aruba Stay COVID-19 Free?

Although the number of active cases is 0, there is no assurance that the virus is not present in Aruba.

The number of people currently in quarantine (161) is still a concern. What if one or more people in quarantine has the virus? 

Another important aspect to keep Aruba COVID-19 free is reopening the border for visitors, who can potentially import the virus. 

We all hope the island will stay coronavirus free, however, there are certain aspects the island needs to be aware of to keep the active cases zero.


Strict Coronavirus Controls at Airport

Aruba’s airport will open soon, however, the way you go through the airport is going to change with stricter control to prevent the import and spread of coronavirus.

As visitors enter the airport they will be subject to a 3 layer control that includes:

  •       Thermal cameras (those with high temperatures will be tested)
  •       COVID-19 Rapid Testing (results within 90 minutes)
  •       Checklist with coronavirus related questions

What will happen to visitors who test positive for coronavirus?

Visitors who test positive at the airport (or during their stay in Aruba) for coronavirus will be assigned to a COVID-hotel to isolate and quarantine. 

Quarantine or isolation can take up to 2 – 3 weeks.  

In case visitors get sick and need medical attention they will be transferred to the hospital.


recent news out of Aruba


Before You Travel You Should Know This

Before you travel anywhere, especially to Aruba, you should know that if you show any symptoms of coronavirus, and test positive for the virus, you will need to go into quarantine. 

If you’ve booked an expensive hotel, rented a car, and have reservations at the finest restaurants, but end up in a COVID-hotel to isolate, it’s going to ruin your vacation plans, morally and financially. 

How can you avoid this?

The best thing to do is not to travel if you have any symptoms related to COVID-19. And protect yourself at all times before and during your flight to avoid getting the virus into your system. 

It’s also a good idea to apply for travel insurance, which includes the coverage of pandemic trip cancellation and medical expenses.

When Will Travel Ban Be Lifted?

There is no definite date yet to reopen Aruba’s borders. 

However, according to the Tourism Minister, the tentative date is set between June 15 – July 1, 2020, pending official announcement by the Government.

Cruise ships have no tentative date yet to resume operations.

Related Articles – Read Our Previous Newsletters


Tentative Aruba Flight Plans

Four major airlines announced they are ready to continue flight schedules to Aruba as soon as the borders are open again.

The four major airlines that will resume operations are:

  • American Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • United Airlines 
  • JetBlue


The amount of tourism is not going to be the same at first, but will gradually grow to a larger number of visitors per month.

Aruba welcomed over 20.000 passengers every week before the coronavirus outbreak. Now it’s estimated that around 2.000 visitors will be allowed into Aruba per week, and this number will gradually increase if the situation around the world improves.

The 4 major airlines that will resume operation as soon as borders are open again will bring 128 flights to the island combined. In February 2020, before the outbreak in Aruba, these 4 major airlines were flying 440 times.

Here’s the amount of flight each airline will start with as the borders open again (compared to before the outbreak):

  • American Airlines will start with 56 flights (used to be 137). 
  • Delta will fly 12 times per month (used to be 73). 
  • United Airlines will fly 4 times a month (used to be 101)
  • JetBlue will fly 56 times per month (used to be 129)

The number of flights and airlines will gradually increase as travel recuperates around the world and in Aruba.


Aruba Continues To Open Economy

The Government moves to phase 3 of reopening the economy of Aruba as of June 1, 2020.

Phase 3 allows more businesses to open including:

  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops 
  • Bakeries
  • Lottery shops
  • Massage parlors, spas, and saunas
  • Barbershops 
  • Hair Salons
  • Gyms

Establishments that are not yet allowed to open are bars, nightclubs, and casinos.

New Rules For New Normal Lifestyle

Although the active coronavirus cases in Aruba dropped to zero, there are still rules in the new normal lifestyle on the island. 

According to the department of public health, each individual has the personal responsibility to take care of their health and they should do this by following rules:

  • Maintain social distance
  • Practice safe hygiene measures
  • Call the doctor if COVID-19 symptoms are felt

Ritz Carlton Casino Becomes Smoke-Free

Gamblers can now enjoy a healthier atmosphere in the casino at Ritz Carlton when they reopen the casino in June as a smoke-free casino.

According to Area General Manager of Ritz Carlton, Steven Redkoles – The decision to transform the casino into a smoke-free environment was voluntary, as a result of the hotel focusing on the wellbeing of its guests and employees. 

This is a bold statement by Steven Redkoles that takes the team members, and guests’ health into consideration after the devastating effects of COVID-19.



Casino players that avoid casinos because of the smoke now have an option to try their chance with lady luck in Aruba. 

Gamblers who wish to puff a cigar, cigarette or vape, will need to go outside the resort property and return to the casino after.

The casinos in Aruba are set to reopen sometime in June 2020.


The New Normal For Restaurants in Aruba

Restaurants are reopening after the government imposed a lockdown in March 2020.

Slowly going back to normal operations, from take-away to delivery, recently opening for outside dining only and soon hosting guests again for inside dining.

Business seems to return to normal, but diners have to maintain new hygiene protocols in the midst of these coronavirus times. 

These safety measures include temperature check before entering restaurants, following markers to your table, safe distancing, and washing your hands.

Restaurant sales dropped compared to last year, but diners expect business to increase after the borders reopen.


local restaurant in palm beach sweet peppers kid friendly


Survival of the Restaurants 

There are over 300 diners on the island, and all were affected by the coronavirus.

A few restaurants didn’t survive the COVID-19 blow and were forced to close, one example is Taste of Belgium.

Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association expects one hundred restaurants to open within the following weeks. But the majority of restaurants (200+) are expected to reopen their establishment in November, or at a later date.

297 Establishments Are Hygiene Certified

According to Aruba’s Tourism Authority, a total of 297 businesses related to the tourism sector on the island received their pre-check for Health & Happiness Code. 

Health & Happiness Code is a new clean and hygiene certification program for businesses. It’s a sticker that each establishment should display at the forefront of their business that ensures that every safety measure was taken to create a safe environment for visitors, locals, and employees.

The business that received the pre-check is in the following sectors:

  • Food & beverage
  • Accommodation
  • Retail
  • Food trucks

New Bird Species Found in Aruba

A new bird species was discovered on the island by nature group “Aruba Flora & Fauna”.

After investigation, the newfound bird species is known as the “Variegated Flycatcher” (Empidonomus Varius.)



It was the first time this type of bird was noticed in Aruba on May 17, 2020.

The finders of the bird gave it a local name, “Tirano Raya”.

It’s a new bird in Aruba but found in different countries including, Venezuela, Uruguay, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina.

It’s believed that the bird made its way to Aruba from Venezuela, because of a navigation error by the Flycatcher and it wound up far outside its habitat.

Birdwatchers now have a new bird to spot and cross off their checklist in Aruba.


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Aruba Moves Closer To a “New Normal Lifestyle”

The Government in Aruba continues to ease coronavirus measures two months after the outbreak affected the island.

Curfew (Toque de Queda) has changed from 10:00 pm – 5:00 am to 11:00 pm – 5:00 am. Before the new extended hours, curfew was set at 9:00 pm – 6:00 am.

Shelter in place and agglomeration are also lifted, as the island enters a “new normal” lifestyle. 

The Government urges the Aruban community to continue to practice social distance and proper hygiene to prevent the further spread of the virus, even though measures are gradually eased.

The Second Phase of Reopening Aruba’s Economy

Aruba entered the second phase of reopening its internal economy on May 18, 2020. 

The Prime Minister of Aruba spelled out different metrics for moving into the second phase of the “new normal lifestyle” during a press conference.

 Here are the new rules that apply during the second phase:

  • eliminate shelter in place
  • lift the agglomeration ban (more than 3 people in a group)
  • remove the maximum limit number of people that can enter a store
  • curfew (toque de queda) is still in effect, from 11:00 PM to 05:00 AM

According to the Prime Minister, phase 3 of reopening the island’s economy internally will start after May 31, 2020, depending on the progress made during phase 2.

Going Back To Business as Usual

As the Government eases coronavirus measures around the island, they also gave different businesses on the island the green light to resume operations.

Construction projects, schools, shopping malls, movie theaters, churches, outdoor sports reopened since May 18, 2020.

Restaurants (only outside dining), barbershops, and beauty salons are allowed to open on May 25, 2020.

Businesses that remain closed until further notice are:

  • spas & massage parlors
  • bars
  • casinos
  • nightclubs

Coronavirus Statistics in Aruba

Here are the latest numbers related to coronavirus cases in Aruba (last updated May 22, 2020):

  • Active Cases – 3
  • Recuperated – 95
  • Quarantine – 63
  • Total Tests -2063
  • Negative Results – 1962
  • Deaths – 3

The transmission rate of coronavirus is very low in Aruba (no new cases found in over 3 weeks). 

This indicates that the Government and local public health department has the transmission of the virus under control.


Nature Conservation Over Destruction

The days of driving UTV & ATV on natural areas in Aruba seem to be over as Infrastructure & Environment Minister plans to regulate the use of these off-road vehicles to drive on protected areas.

A part of Aruba’s adventure loved by visitors and locals is driving UTV & ATV alongside the north coast of the island. However, over the years, these vehicles caused damage to the natural areas around the countryside.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment is working on solutions to improve this situation and protect natural areas from damage in the future.

There are two aspects they are focusing on:

  1. Conservation and protection of Aruba’s protected nature area’s
  2. The process of inspection of these off-road vehicles

Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association wrote a letter to the Government expressing their concerns regarding the use of UTV and ATV vehicles, recommending new regulations for reasons of safety for the island’s visitors and protection of Aruba’s environment.

The Government clarified this week during a press conference that UTV’s & ATV’s will not be banned, but they are looking for a solution for these off-road vehicles including but not limited to:

  1. stop renting UTV/ATV directly to individuals (no more unguided driving), only allowing rentals by guided tours.
  2. briefing safety rules for each tourist before the start of tours.
  3. Prohibit dangerous maneuvers such as donuts, fishtailing, and driving over protected nature areas.
  4. Ban the driving off-road vehicles on main high roads such as the downtown area.

Arikok National Park in Aruba also announced that it will start to regulate the entry of these vehicles as of June 2020.

This means only low impact ways of traveling (exception of jeeps, compact cars, and vans) can be used to enter the park and visit the natural areas such as the natural pool. ATV’s and UTV’s are only allowed to enter the park with tour companies, and strict driving rules will be applied to protect the natural areas inside of the park.

The Natural Pool.


Aruba’s Airport Expects Slow Restart

The airport in Aruba (AAA) is prepared for a restart of regular operations as soon as the Government officially reopens the island’s borders.

Regular operations at the airport are expected to restart on June 1, however, this is going to be postponed as the Tourism Minister announced borders have a tentative date to reopen between June 15 and July 1, 2020.

Travel to Aruba will experience a slow restart when the airport reopens because only a limited amount of visitors will be allowed to enter the island.

Travel to Aruba not only depends on the borders reopening on the island but depends on many other factors. These factors include but are not limited to countries lifting their own travel bans and the extend countries have the virus transmission under control.

Major Airlines Tentative Flight Schedules 

The airport shared good news this week that major airlines announced tentative plans to resume internationally, including Aruba in the summer. 

Here’s a view of the tentative flight schedule for major airlines.


Visitors Not Require To Quarantine

Tourists visiting Aruba as soon as travel is allowed again worldwide are not required to go into quarantine for 14 days according to Tourism Minister. 

Travelers want to relax and enjoy their vacation in Aruba, and imposing a quarantine rule is ineffective, said the Minister.

He also noted that it’s best not to open the borders at all if mandatory quarantine is enforced on travelers. 

According to the Tourism Minister, several protocols and guidelines are in place at the airport to prevent importation and transmission of the virus.

These protocols and guidelines include temperature checks, screenings, onsite medical professionals, markers for social distance, protective shields, and all staff received mandatory personal protective equipment training.

No mandatory quarantine rule for travelers remains under review until further notice.


Aruba Health & Happiness Code

Aruba’s Tourism Authority announced a new cleaning and hygiene certification program called the Health & Happiness Code (H&H Code).

Businesses related to the tourism industry displaying the H&H code ensures every safety measure was taken to create a safe environment for visitors.

The health & happiness code will be displayed on different tourism-related sectors including accommodations, restaurants, bars, taxis, casinos, tour operators, and retail stores.

All businesses related to tourism must receive on-site inspection and approval by the department of public health before they receive the gold “H&H code” seal. 


Tourism in Aruba Before Coronavirus

Aruba experienced a sudden drop in tourism after receiving over 1 million stayover visitors in 2019.

Today, the airport is shut down. The hotels are empty. Restaurants are closed, and employment is at an all-time low.

We’ve never seen times like this.

Aruba is one of the islands that depends on tourism the most in the Caribbean region.

Before the outbreak, the island welcomed a total of 1.120.655 stay over tourists during 2019. The majority of tourists coming from North America. This sector of Aruba’s tourism market grew 11%, the largest growth gap since 2004.

The total amount of stayover visitors by airplane grew in 2019 with 3% and cruise ships and by 2.1%.

The occupancy rate in Aruba was 75%, which is one of the highest in the Caribbean for 2019.


Travelers Want To Visit Aruba

As the world starts to ease coronavirus measures, more people start to weigh whether – or if they should travel again, and where should they travel to first. 

According to data captured by Expedia.com, travelers searched for flights between July through December were located inside of the US. 

This is an indication that Americans and other travelers around the world are going to test the waters when traveling inside of their own countries.

The destinations selected by travelers according to the data from Expedia.com suggest that travelers are looking for vacation spots that offer warm weather and activities, both indoor and outdoor. 

When it comes to international travel, the data by Expedia.com suggests that travelers are dreaming about the Caribbean, and Aruba is on the list of top 10 destinations travelers want to visit.

Are you also planning your first visit to Aruba?

Relaxation and beach time are plenty in Aruba…

 


Taste of Belgium Goes Out of Business

The family-style restaurant in Palm Beach known as Taste of Belgium is permanently closing due to challenges imposed by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

In 2019, before the outbreak, this restaurant had been offering Belgium inspired dishes and beers inside an upscale lounge. 

When the outbreak caused a full lockdown on the island, the owners from Taste of Belgium decided to shut down temporarily until March 31, 2020.

However, the decision to temporarily close in March became permanent.


Coronavirus Business Impact in Aruba

Thirty-six business owners in Aruba were surveyed by the Aruba Food & Beverage Association, and 83% of them say they lost 100% of their sales.

This is the response of 36 business owners in Aruba:

  • 36% say they will reopen on May 25, 2020 
  • 64% won’t open back on May 25, 2020, until further notice
  • 83% say they won’t close permanently
  • 17% say they may close their business

Although a small number (36) of business owners participated in this survey, compared to the thousands of businesses related to tourism in Aruba, it highlights the economic impact of coronavirus on business on the island.

If this estimate holds true for other business owners on the island, it could predict hardships for business in Aruba which are trying to recover from this crisis.


Aruba’s Drive-In Theater Makes Comeback

It’s official, the popular drive-in theater in Aruba is making a comeback during the pandemic.

CEO of MetaCorp and owner of the drive-in theatre said they are rebuilding the historic drive that closed in 2009.

The drive-in is on the list of fast track projects that will resume as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. A project like this is creating jobs for people during these hard times and will help boost the economy.

According to the owner of the Drive-in, cleaning up and reconstruction works should be finalized within the next 3 months.

The final design of the drive-in will be modern, but still keeping its original look in its glory days, including ample parking, concessions stands, and bathrooms.

Drive-in Aruba first opens it’s doors in 1969 and operated for 40 years until it, unfortunately, closed in 2009. But the open-air movie theater is making a comeback, with the help of modern technology.

The normal movie theaters where the business model – sit close to each other, are suddenly outdated in these coronavirus times. Now the old school movie theater model is the “new and safe alternative” to watch blockbuster movies in an era of coronavirus.

It’s hard to eat nachos and popcorn with a mask on anyway.

Soon you can get out of quarantine life and enjoy a movie outdoors on the big screen.


Construction at Harbor House in Full Swing

Construction advancements continue to take place at one of the newest condominiums in Aruba’s downtown.

The 7 level building is on schedule with construction works. The interior space of each unit is clearly visible now as a division of the different condominiums is completed. The floor tiles in the units are almost completely laid out. Further constructions work taking place at the moment and also almost completed is the roof and deep foundations for the infinity pool overlooking the fishing harbor in Oranjestad.

Additional progress made so far includes:

  • placement of ceilings  and door installations for all units
  • fire detection installations
  • floor tiles for pool deck
  • terrace participation
  • main pool construction

The outside of the building is also taking shape as sheetrock is installed and the final product is coming to reality slowly.

Harbor House will have 94 apartments, 12 commercial buildings in its 2 story mall, including retail shops and restaurants.

Can you imagine living a new lifestyle in the Caribbean?


Aruba Selects Partner For Precious Oil Storage

Aruba is now offering the possibility to lease oil storage after the Government terminated a contract with the opposition-controlled US subsidiary of Venezuela’s national oil company PDVSA.

The offer to lease comes during a historic supply of oil and the collapse in demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Aruba has a total of 17 storage tanks available, and 7 of them are waiting for inspections and repairs to comply with storage regulations.

More than 40 companies are showing interest in using Aruba’s refinery for storing their excess oil. The state-owned refinery “Refineria di Aruba” (RdA) will award the storage lease at the end of May or June 2020.

According to the Prime Minister the lease payment for storing crude oil in Aruba’s storage tanks will net the Government at least 3 million US Dollars per month.


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Aruba Plans To Open Borders

Tourism Minister announced plans to reopen Aruba’s borders and revive the tourist industry gradually.

When Will Borders Reopen

According to the Tourism Minister, the Government set a “tentative date” to reopen the island’s borders between June 15 and July 1, 2020.

The definite date when travel bans will be lifted depends on several factors, including keeping the rate of local transmission of the virus low. And having all the cleaning and sanitation procedures in place within all sectors of the tourism industry in Aruba.

The government is developing a cleaning and sanitation guidelines for different businesses related to tourism in Aruba regarding social distance and hygiene measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

This guideline is called the “clean seal certification program” and it’s based on recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Public Health & Environment (The Netherlands), and the Local Health Department in Aruba.






Clean Seal Certification Program 

Aruba Tourism Authority and The Government are working together to create a clean seal certification program for all businesses within the tourism industry.

The clean seal program declares that businesses who obtain this certificate regularly apply cleaning, sanitation and proper hygiene measures to ensure health safety to visitors and locals.

This program will be required by all sectors within the tourism industry, including but not limited to the airport, restaurants, casinos, car rentals, retail stores, taxis, spas, hotels, and other accommodations in Aruba. 

The clean seal certification program is developed by several stakeholders in the tourism industry of Aruba, including the public health department, Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association, Aruba Airport Authority, Aruba Trade & Industry Association, the local department of Civil Aviation, Aruba Ports Authority, and the Government.


recent news out of Aruba


 Slowly Restarting Tourism Again

According to the CEO of Aruba Tourism Authority, Aruba already has pending reservations from different airlines including spirit airlines, delta airlines, American airlines, jet blue, Avianca, and Copa airlines, but not limited to this. 

She also says flights will have fewer visitors because airlines will change their seat layout and limit the number of passengers.

Aruba received a minimum of 20.000 visitors weekly prior to the coronavirus outbreak.

The local tourism authority expects between 1000 and 2000 travelers to visit Aruba after the lockdown is removed.

The reduction in visitors is based on research among US travelers and lower occupancy of passengers announced by airlines that service Aruba.

A recent study shows that 14% of US travelers are willing to travel to the Caribbean as soon as travel bans are listed in the US.

The same study also shows that 50% of US travelers are not willing to visit Asian regions and Europe if a vaccine against coronavirus is not available.

After aerial traffic is safely opened, the government will move onto the next step which is opening borders for cruise lines.

Numbers show that tourism in Aruba will not be the same compared to before the outbreak.

The soft reopening of Aruba’s borders is going to be a way to test the island’s protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 locally and with traveling.

Every step along the way after the border reopens is going to be a learning experience to make better decisions in the future to combat coronavirus.

Coronavirus Statistics in Aruba

Here are the latest numbers regarding coronavirus cases in Aruba (updated last April 10, 2020):

  • Active Cases – 9
  • Recuperated – 89
  • Quarantine – 54
  • Total Tests -1860
  • Negative Results – 1759
  • Deaths – 3

In the last 18 days, only 1 new coronavirus case was discovered.

This indicates that the Government and local public health department has the transmission of the virus under control.






New Sanitation Protocols For Hotels in Aruba

Hotels in Aruba are subject to new cleaning and disinfecting protocols, as well as the physical distance standard set by the Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association (AHATA). 

AHATA created a new best practice document for local accommodations in Aruba to prepare for post-lockdown reopening. 

The new protocols are followed by recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and Aruba’s Health Department (DVG).

The new cleaning guidelines also include behavioral rules for employees on resort property, new ways for guest interaction, and new hygiene standards for post coronavirus hospitality. 

New cleaning and disinfecting policies, including physical distancing are required in different areas around the resort, including restaurants and casinos. 

AHATA’s new cleaning norms assures the hospitality in Aruba will provide guests with health and safety.


Local Economy Fully Open By June 15, 2020

The Prime Minister of Aruba announced a further phasing out of Aruba’s lockdown with plans of reopening the island economy internally on June 15, 2020. 

This is a step towards economic normality after slowing the spread of coronavirus on the island. 

According to the Prime Minister, the situation will be evaluated every two weeks, and if requirements are met, the economy of the island will move slowly into the next phase of reopening, until it opens completely on June 15.

All businesses that are on the list to re-open in the upcoming weeks are subject to safety and hygiene measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.





Arikok National Park Bans UTV & ATV

Aruba’s National Park (Arikok) will soon ban the entry of ATV’s and UTV’s into its park. 

ATV and UTVs are quad racers and all-terrain vehicles used by island tour companies to go sightseeing around Aruba, especially the north coast of the island. 

Why are these vehicles being banned?

ATV’s and UTV’s are being banned, due to drivers unknowingly destroying nature and the environment by driving over flora and fauna, including nests of owls, rabbits, and other indigenous animals in Aruba. 

Not only are ATV’s and UTV’s banned entry to the national park, but the Government is also banning the use of these vehicles on the road.

The ban will start gradually by regulating the entry of ATV’s and UTV as of June 1, 2020. Complete ban of ATV’s and UTV’s will go into effect as of October 1, 2020. 

Only compact cars, jeeps, vans, and pickups are allowed to enter the park. However, these vehicles are not allowed to enter in groups larger than 4 cars. 

National Park Arikok only will promote the entry of low impact tours. 

So how can you visit popular attractions like the natural pool in the national park?

The only way will be with a jeep, horseback riding, biking, hiking, or other low impact modes of transportation.


Excelsior Casino at Holiday Inn Bankrupt

Operators of Excelsior Casino located at the Holiday Inn declared bankruptcy. 

The director of the casino sent all employees home as in March 2020, after the first case of coronavirus was discovered in Aruba under a no work no pay basis.

Financial challenges at the casino started a few years ago and continued into 2020, but the devastating blow was landed after the coronavirus outbreak. 

Excelsior Casino’s contract at the Holiday Inn terminated April 30, 2020, after being renewed in September 2018. The owners of Holiday Inn in Aruba denied a renewal of the contract after termination in 2020.






Aruba Signs Termination Agreement With CITGO

The Prime Minister announced that a termination agreement with CITGO has been signed by Land Aruba and Refineria di Aruba (RdA – Refinery of Aruba). 

Negotiations lasted over a year, and now that the contract between Aruba and CITGO is terminated, the refinery and storage tanks are back into the island’s ownership.

CITGO has an outstanding debt of 17 million US dollars that needs to be paid within the next 5 upcoming months.

New opportunities will present itself now after the contract with CITGO terminated. 

The future of Aruba’s refinery

According to the Prime Minister, there is interest from other companies to lease the storage tanks to hold the current over-production of crude oil.

Renting out the tanks to store crude oil can possibly net the government between 2 and 3 US million dollars a month. The company that will rent the tanks will be decided by a public tendering process, which will start within a month.


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Aruba Slowly Reboots Economy

The Prime Minister of Aruba says while the island is making progress in the fight against coronavirus, the Government will not let its guard down as plans are announced for slowly rebooting the local economy.

Rebooting the island’s economy started officially on May 4, 2020, and will happen gradually.

Certain non-essential companies that closed during lockdown will re-open, however, only 15 people are allowed in the stores, including employees. 

Stores that are allowed to open are:

  • clothing stores
  • food trucks
  • construction companies
  • jewelry stores
  • museums
  • other business services that do not require close contact. 

Restaurants, bars, beauty salons, barbershops, shopping malls, spas, and other close contact business services remain closed until further notice. 

The gradual reopening of Aruba’s economy is aimed at reaching a balance between bringing commerce back to life while still promoting physical distance and proper hygiene measures to prevent the further spread of coronavirus in the community.

The government will move onto the next phase of rebooting the island’s economy after 14 days if the transmission of the virus remains low during the first start-up phase. This includes opening more stores and allowing more customers to enter establishments.

In case the virus continues to spread during this soft reopening of Aruba’s economy, the island may go back to certain restrictions.

Schools were scheduled to re-open on May 11, 2020, but will remain closed until further notice by the Minister of Education. 






COVID-19 Exit Strategy & Economic Recuperation

Aruba’s recuperation phase starts with stabilizing and stimulating the economy. This includes subsidizing local companies to help their employees survive the current crisis. 

Projects that were halted in the midst of the outbreak will be on a fast track to restart.

This includes the development of the medical cannabis economy, construction projects (Resorts like St.Regis, Secrets Resort & Other tourism-related constructions), re-purposing the refinery, and several other private and public investments.

The new future of Aruba’s economy will focus on several factors, but not limited to: 

  • Circular economy
  • Future of work
  • Food security
  • Education
  • Agriculture
  • Energy security
  • Tourism

The first step for Aruba’s economy to restart is for commerce to start again, people working again, however under strict conditions to prevent the spreading of coronavirus.

malmok boardwalk project in Aruba


Aruba Continues To Flatten The Curve

It’s been over two weeks and the island has only reported 1 new coronavirus case, and luckily several people recovered from the virus during this period. 

This indicates that the local department of health has located most coronavirus cases with their testing strategy, case isolations, and contact tracing. 

According to the Minister of Health, we have to continue to wear our masks to keep practicing social distance, and properly wash our hands along with other preventive hygiene measures until a vaccine is available for COVID-19. 

Here’s the current status for Coronavirus cases in Aruba until May 6, 2020:

  • Active Cases – 10
  • Recuperated – 89
  • Quarantine – 28
  • Deaths – 2
  • Tests – 1798
  • Negative Results – 1697

Related Article – Coronavirus Improving in Aruba


Slowly Lifting Coronavirus Measures

The Government eased the current coronavirus measures after the island only recorded 1 new case after two weeks.

Curfew has changed from 9:00 PM – 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM – 5:00 AM.

Essential businesses are allowed to close until 9:00 PM (previously set to 6:00 PM).

Shelter in place and social distancing are still in effect.






Airport Reopening June 1, 2020 Seems Too Soon

The Prime Minister of Aruba took note of Aruba’s Airport announcement that they are preparing to restart operations on June 1, 2020, in case the Government lifts air travel ban in Aruba at the end of May 2020.

However, the Prime Minister said this was not a coordinated announcement, and that it might be too soon to reopen the borders by June 1, 2020. Furthermore, she said Aruba should agree on a shared path back to the reopening tourism and freedom of travel.

According to the Prime Minister, it’s unlikely that travel bans will be lifted on June 1, 2020, as announced by the Airport. But the Government is also not excluding this option, because its too premature to say what will happen in the upcoming weeks.

If the Government decides to lift the travel ban, it will be under strict conditions and protocols to prevent the importation of new coronavirus cases .

When exactly will travel be allowed? No one knows, until further announcement by the Prime Minister.

So can you book your trip to Aruba in June?

It’s a risk – the answer is most likely no. It’s best to wait on further details and instructions by the Government in Aruba.

new-airport-logo

The new logo, right in front of the airport.


Flights For Americans Stranded on ABC Islands

There are still a lot of stranded travelers in Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. 

They are stranded on the islands after travel restrictions stopped them from boarding flights and traveling back home.

The government in Aruba announced that Spirit Airlines has an additional humanitarian flight service to help stranded visitors on the ABC islands to return safely home to the United States. 

The flight is scheduled to depart from Aruba’s airport (Reina Beatrix) on May 10, 2020 at 1:00 PM.

Travelers stranded on Bonaire & Curacao need to fly to Aruba first with Divi Divi airlines. 

After departing from Aruba, the flight will pick up additional passengers at Colombia Cartagena, and arrive at Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport. 

Stranded travelers need to contact the US consulate on the respective island for additional information. If you are stranded on one of these islands, or know someone that is, ask for additional instructions by sending an email to [email protected]


Airlines Require Travelers To Wear Masks

Mayor US airlines companies announced that they will require travelers to wear face masks on board their planes in order to protect passengers and flight attendants.

Travelers are also urged to wear face masks or other face coverings in the check-in area’s, lounges, boarding gates, and onboard, except when a meal is served.

Airline crew members are also required to wear masks.

In order to fight the battle against coronavirus and other germs, US airlines are going to provide masks and sanitizing wipes.

The new measures by major US airlines are aligned with the recommendations from the centers of disease control and prevention.

In addition to implementing face masks requirements, airlines are also increasing the cleaning and disinfecting of cabins.





Airlines Search For New Ways To Travel Safe

The coronavirus outbreak made everyone, including airlines, rethink the way life is lived as usual when it comes to safety and health.

Now the airline industry is facing new challenges to secure the health of travelers when it comes to air transportation.

How can the spread of coronavirus, or other germs be stopped?

Italian aircraft interior designers manufactured a concept seating solution to make travelers sit safely close together. It’s a glass safe middle seating that creates an isolated volume around passengers to avoid or minimize the spread of germs between occupants.

Calling it “Janus” seats, it features a middle seat positioned in the opposite direction, while passengers seated on the side seats are faced in the forward direction. 

This seat layout allows all three passengers to be separated with a transparent shield that isolates them from each other, even protecting passengers from people walking through the aisles.

Janus seats are conceptual and need to be approved by the Air Transport Associations before they can be implemented by airlines.





Caribbean & Latin America First To Receive Cruise Ships

Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association announced that the Caribbean and Latin America, including Aruba will be the first regions to welcome cruise ships when operations restart. 

The last cruise ship that was docked on Aruba was March 13, 2020. 

According to the Director of Aruba Ports Authority, it’s difficult to say when exactly the first cruise ship will dock in Aruba again. But it’s estimated that the first cruise ship will arrive in Aruba around August or September.  

Cruise associations say a lot of changes will occur before cruise ships are permitted to resume service.

Some changes have already played out during the coronavirus outbreak, and other changes will be more gradual. For example, stricter health screening before boarding ship, self service buffet could be gone forever, fewer cruise schedules, lower capacity of cruise passengers and crew members, and frequent cleaning and sanitizing inside the ships. 


Watch Aruba’s Earth Day Video

Aruba Tourism Authority shared a special video of the island on Earth Day (April 22, 2020).

The video was made to promise Aruba’s visitors that they are welcome to travel to the island as soon as it’s safe to travel again.

It also features voices of 17 natives on the island explaining the beauty of the island through their eyes.

Watch the video and feel the warmth of the island, without having to be physically in Aruba.

Dream of the day you will step foot on the island again as you watch the video…


Sargassum in Aruba’s North Coast Beaches

A brown like seaweed, known as Sargassum, is floating in the waters in the Caribbean and drifting in large quarantines towards the north coast beaches in Aruba.

Sargassum is not only affecting the north coast beaches of Aruba but also many other islands in the Caribbean.

According to the department of nature and environment, the seaweed is only drifting towards the north coast of Aruba which has no direct impact on the beach users, and since it is a natural phenomenon it does not present any harm to the public health.

The pristine beaches we all love near the hotel areas are not affected at all, but only the beaches on the north coast of the island, where swimming is not allowed like Natural Bridge, Andicuri, and Black Stone Beach.

aruba-weekly-newspaper-recap

Washed up sargassum seaweed near Wariruri.

Scientists said sargassum originates between the coast of Africa and Brazil after studying satellite imagery and tracking the movements of the brown seaweed.

This region has a lot of nutrients that help the sargassum continue to grow.

The brown like seaweed is moving towards the Caribbean region through currents. And it makes its way along several islands, including Aruba.

Sargassum shouldn’t be a concern for you, because the Department of Nature and Environment is closely monitoring the situation and will remove the seaweed before travel is allowed again.

By the time you return to Aruba the seaweed will be all gone.



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Will Travel To Aruba Be Possible June 1, 2020?

The Prime Minister announced that restriction for commercial air travel in Aruba will be extended until May 31, 2020, until further notice to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Despite this announcement, Aruba’s Airport Authority says it is preparing for a possible restart of regular operations, depending on the Government’s final decision to reopen commercial air travel to and from Aruba. 

Aruba’s Airport is ready to receive air traffic as of June 1, 2020, if the Government suspends air travel on May 31, 2020.

The restart plan by Aruba’s Airport has 4 phases, which include procedures and processes that ensure welcoming visitors in a safe and controlled manner.

Here are the restart phases outlined by the airport:

  • Pre Restart
  • Soft Restart
  • Close To Normal Operation
  • Business As Usual

Related Article – How To Plan & Travel After Coronavirus Ends


The pre restart phase already started since April 23, 2020. 

Only important cargo and legal residents of Aruba that are approved by the local department of Aviation are exempted from travel restriction during the pre-restart period.

The soft restart phase will begin on June 1, 2020 – but only if the Government lifts travel restrictions. 

During the soft restart, visitors are welcomed, but only in small volumes. Preventive measurements will be applied, such as entry, travel, and health requirements requested by local and international authorities, airlines, and the Aruban Government for travelers upon arrival.

Additional measurements that will be implemented at the airport are:

  • Signage to guide passengers, personnel and other airport users in social distancing
  • Transparent shields will be placed on check-in desks
  • Queuing areas will be marked for social distance
  • Corridors will be changed to one way traffic
  • The way you pick up travel gear at the luggage belt will change

These following measurements will allow the airport to safely handle passengers and scheduled commercial air traffic. 

If these new measures lead to a safe and controlled operation during the soft restart phase, the volume of visitors will be scaled up towards close to normal operation and business as usual in the future.

These 4 phases allow the airport to adapt and make necessary changes based on knowledge and experience from the previous phases, as well as learn lessons from other airports around the world which are further in their commercial air travel process.

According to the CEO of Aruba’s Airport – “It is hard to predict at this point in time when business, as usual, will be reached, but it can take a long time. We have a response plan in place to pick up operations step by step, which is in compliance with all travel and health requirements, while we wait for the Government’s announcement to reopen Aruba’s borders”.

The restart of Aruba’s Airport also depends on other factors, such as when airlines will start with flights, and how far countries like The United States and Europe are dominating coronavirus. 

When travel will be allowed again is hard to determine, but let’s hope you are welcome back to Aruba as of June 1, 2020.






Recovery Plan For Hotels in Aruba

Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association recently announced expectations for the hotel occupancy in Aruba.

Their expectations are based on the fact that Aruba and other countries reopen their borders back in June 2020.

The reopening of tourism in Aruba and visitors to hotels is based on different factors, including but not limited to:

  1. How visitors are affected financially world wide
  2. If countries are able to get the virus under control
  3. The number of seat airlines can offer to Aruba

The hotel association projects that occupancy in Aruba accommodation is going to gradually grow, starting with 15% by June, if borders open by then, and slowly increase to 55% by December.

Here’s a view of their monthly trajectory for occupancy in hotels:

  • June – 15%
  • July – 30%
  • August – 35%
  • September – 40%
  • October – 45%
  • November – 50%
  • December – 55%

A lot of businesses in Aruba depend on tourism for revenue, but with the projection of hotel occupancy falling under break-even point, many businesses will be operating at a financial loss during Aruba’s tourism recovery period, until the situation normalizes. 

The sooner the world gets the coronavirus situation under control, the better it will be for all of us, including tourism in Aruba.



Airlines Search For New Ways To Travel Safe

The coronavirus outbreak made everyone, including airlines, rethink the way life is lived as usual when it comes to safety and health.

Now the airline industry is facing new challenges to secure the health of travelers when it comes to air transportation.

How can the spread of coronavirus, or other germs be stopped?

Italian aircraft interior designers manufactured a concept seating solution to make travelers sit safely close together. It’s a glass safe middle seating that creates an isolated volume around passengers to avoid or minimize the spread of germs between occupants.


 

Calling it “Janus” seats, it features a middle seat positioned in the opposite direction, while passengers seated on the side seats are faced in the forward direction. 

This seat layout allows all three passengers to be separated with a transparent shield that isolates them from each other, even protecting passengers from people walking through the aisles.

Janus seats are conceptual and need to be approved by the Air Transport Associations before they can be implemented by airlines.






Coronavirus Update in Aruba

Here’s an update on the current coronavirus cases in Aruba (last update 25 April 2020):

  • Positive Infections  – 100
  • Active Cases – 29
  • Recuperated Patients  – 69
  • Deaths – 2

The transmission of the virus has declined dramatically on the island, registering only 4 new positive cases in the past 14 days.

According to the Health Minister of Aruba, the curve is not totally flattened, but the island is well underway to beat COVID-19. 

He also says that the island is ready to launch a drive-thru testing for coronavirus. However, this testing site will only be inaugurated if the current testing capacity exceeds 120 tests per day, which is not yet the case.


latest news out of Aruba


3 Possible Candidates For Blood Plasma Therapy

According to local Nephrologist Dr. Za Choudhry, 3 patients who recovered from Coronavirus in Aruba are candidates for donating their blood that contain antibodies to patients who are still infected with COVID-19.

This is part of the “Aruba-COVID Study” to treat critically ill patients in the hospital diagnosed with coronavirus.

Aruba-COVID study is an investigation to use blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. The research is based on the successful treatment using blood plasma of recovered patients of diseases in the past, including Spanish flu, MERS, and SARS. 

The transfusion of plasma is set to happen next week and will prove if it is effective in treating coronavirus in critically ill patients.






More Flexible Prevention Measurements

Aruba plans to ease prevention measures to stop the spread of coronavirus. 

According to the Prime Minister, prevention measurements such as curfew (toque de Queda) and shelter in place could be eased end of April 2020.

This means that curfew may be adapted (currently 9:00 PM – 6:00 AM) – it is not yet known to which timestamps the curfew will be changed. 

Stores that have adjusted open and closing times may stay open for a longer period to stimulate the economy. 

The lockdowns on non-essential stores could also be partially lifted, allowing orders online or through the phone and delivery to clients around the island.

All prevention measures are valid until April 28, 2020, until further notice by the Government.



COVID-19 Exit Strategy & Economic Recuperation Phase

The Prime Minister announced that Aruba is entering its economic recuperation phase after the coronavirus crisis seems under control.

The recuperation phase starts with stabilizing and stimulating the economy. This includes subsidizing local companies to help their employees survive the current crisis. 

Projects that were halted in the midst of the outbreak will be on a fast track to restart. This includes the development of the medical cannabis economy, construction projects (Resorts like St.Regis, Secrets Resort & Other tourism-related constructions), repurposing the refinery, and several other private and public investments.

The future of Aruba’s economy will focus on several factors, but not limited to: 

  • Circular economy
  • Future of work
  • Food security
  • Education
  • Agriculture
  • Energy security
  • Tourism

The first step for Aruba’s economy to restart is for commerce to start again, people to work again, however under strict conditions to keep the chance of spreading the virus.

All stakeholders in the tourism industry are currently working on a Tourism Recovery Marketing Plan.





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Aruba Not Ready To Lift Coronavirus Restrictions

Aruba is not ready yet to change its coronavirus restrictions. 

This statement was announced by the head of the department of public health (DVG) during a press conference Friday (April 17, 2020). 

According to the director of public health, any government that wants to lift coronavirus restrictions must first meet with 6 conditions set by the world health organization (WHO), which are: 

  1. Have the disease transmission under control.
  2. Health systems need to detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact.
  3. Hot spot risks need to be minimized in vulnerable places, for example nursing homes.
  4. All Schools, workplaces and essential places need to establish preventive measures.
  5. The risk of importing new cases must be managed.
  6. The community needs to be fully educated, engaged and empowered to live with a “new normal lifestyle”.

Aruba is not ready yet to lift restrictions, because the island is still dealing with at least two of the conditions set by WHO – the risk of importing new cases if travel bans are lifted, and the awareness of the community to live under a “new normal lifestyle”.






Current Coronavirus Situation 

The good news is that coronavirus is improving in Aruba. 

According to the Health Minister, the transmission of new cases is minimal, and the number of people recovering from the virus infection are growing. 

The last series of tests were completed on Saturday (April 18, 2020). 

A total of 60 tests, and all came out negative for coronavirus. 

In the last 7 days, only 4 new cases were found. 

This is an indication that the transmission rate of coronavirus is reducing, which is one of the conditions set by WHO to lift restrictions. 

At the moment, (last updated April 19, 2020) there are:

  • Active Infections – 50
  • Recuperated – 44
  • Quarantine – 104

The First Person To Pass Away 

Aruba recorded its first death from coronavirus on April 15, 2020.

It was a local woman at the age of 79 years old. 

She was admitted to the hospital 15 days before she passed away, and was not a patient in the ICU, but in an isolated room. 

According to the department of public health, the woman also had underlying health issues that caused complications with the virus.

Unfortunately there’s also a second death reported by the public health department. 

However, this person was not registered as an active coronavirus case – the public health department tested him positive for coronavirus after he passed away.

It’s not sure if he died of the virus, or other health complications.

Hydroxychloroquine

Aruba is part of many countries around the world that is treating its hospitalized COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine. However, it’s only used if necessary.

Although this drug was originally developed to treat malaria, it’s proven to be effective on certain patients that tested positive for coronavirus. 

There’s also an ongoing study on the island that includes blood plasma from patients that recovered from coronavirus that may contain antibodies of the disease. 

Blood plasma containing antibodies is believed to help infected patients cure from the disease and also boost the immune system of those who are most vulnerable to coronavirus. 

The hospital in Aruba is currently testing this method to prove its effectiveness. 

The Netherlands Sends Medical Assistance

The Netherlands transported 35 medical workers to Aruba to assist the doctors at the hospital during this coronavirus crisis.

All the costs to maintain these medical workers during their stay in Aruba will be covered by The Netherlands for the next 90 days. 

Preventive Measures Are Extended

The government announced that lockdown measures, including Toque de Queda (curfew, 9:00 pm – 6:00 am) and shelter in place will be extended until the end of April 2020. 

These preventive measures will be examined at the end of the month, and depending on the coronavirus situation, the measures will be eased or increased.



Aruba Received Financial Help

The Netherlands agreed to lend Aruba 42.8 million guilders, equal to 24 million US dollars, against 0% rent to help with the crisis.

This sum of money will be used to help locals who lost their jobs and businesses who are struggling to stay afloat. 

It’s a loan that needs to be paid back within 2 years.

Curacao and St.Maarten also received financial help from The Netherlands.


Aruban-25-Florin-Bank-Note-2019-Front-&-Back

The new 25 Aruban florin banknote (front& back)


New Economic Design For Aruba

The Prime Minister of Aruba announced that the Government is currently brainstorming a new economic design for the island. 

According to the Prime Minister, the most important factor at this moment in the midst of this coronavirus crisis, is the health of the locals. Because without proper health, there can be no economy.

After the health factor is in place, the government will attend to a new economic design, which includes but is not limited to:

  •  financial help to overcome the crisis.
  • Create new economic pillars that will boost employment
  • Restart projects that were halted by the crisis

 Projects that will be restarted in the short term are building of hotels, including St.Regis in Palm Beach and Secrets Resorts at Baby Beach, expansion of the Airport Project “Gateway 2030” and investments in agriculture. 

The Prime Minister said “the new economy of Aruba is going to be strong, resilient, and will take notice of the carrying capacity of Aruba and protect its natural resources, including flora and fauna”

Tourism is going to change worldwide – this also counts for Aruba. 

The amounts of flights and cruise ships may also be reduced.

Aruba may not be as full of tourists anymore, restaurants may not host guests at full capacity anymore, beaches may not be as crowded anymore. Bars also can’t be too full.

The way we used to gather in large groups as social people, may change. All of these changes may come forward to keep social distance, a new normal lifestyle.







CDC Bans Cruise Ships

The centers for disease control and prevention (CDC) announced a modification and extension of no sail order for all cruise ships.

Various cruise ships announced that they will restart their cruise lines in May, but according to the CDC all cruise itineraries need to wait for at least 100 days, until further notice. 

With the current ban by CDC, holiday goers could wait a long time for the trip of their lifetime. Including a popular cruise line by Carnival cruise that planned to visit Aruba in May 2020, but this was too optimistic, according to the Tourism Minister on the island.

Carnival cruise now said to reschedule its trip to Aruba around June or July 2020, depending on the restrictions by the CDC. 

The cruise ship ban is strict and can only be lifted if the US Government retracts its state of public health emergency. 

Until the coronavirus is under control, Aruba will not see another cruise ship docked to its piers.



Soul Beach Music Festival Cancelled

Promoters of Soul Beach Festival announced that the 20th edition of the popular concert in Aruba will be canceled this year. 

The event was canceled related to the worldwide effort to end the spread of COVID-19.

Soul Beach Music Festival was planned May, 20 – 25, 2020. However, the event will be rescheduled to May 26 – 31, 2021. 

According to the promoters of the event, anyone who has already purchased a ticket to soul beach through their website, will get an email notification with detailed information on how to use their ticket for next year 2021 or apply for a refund.





Turtles Nesting Season

While we are fighting the coronavirus worldwide, the sea turtles continue their yearly trip to Aruba to nest their eggs. 

There are already 5 turtle nests on the island, including 4 at Eagle beach, and 1 on Palm beach. 

Sea turtles are one of the oldest returning visitors on the island, and now that the beaches in Aruba are empty, they are going to nest their eggs undisturbed by people. 

Normally when the beaches are full, people enjoy watching these sea turtles come out of the sea and make their way up to the beach, but this usually scares them away and does more harm than good.

Because they may even give up nesting on the beach, and end up giving up the eggs and releasing them into the sea, that nest is then lost forever. 

The nests on the beach are enclosed with red and white barricades, and will hatch in the next 75 days.



Recovery For Hotel Sector in Aruba

Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association recently announced expectations for the hotel occupancy in Aruba.

Their expectations are based on the fact that Aruba and other countries reopen their borders back in June 2020.

The reopening of tourism in Aruba and visitors to hotels is based on different factors, including but not limited to:

  1. How visitors are affected financially world wide
  2. If countries are able to get the virus under control
  3. The amount of seats airlines can offer to Aruba

The hotel association projects that occupancy in Aruba accommodation is going to gradually grow starting with 15% by June, if borders open by then, and slowly increase to 55% by December.

Here’s a view of their monthly trajectory for occupancy in hotels:

  • June – 15%
  • July – 30%
  • August – 35%
  • September – 40%
  • October – 45%
  • November – 50%
  • December – 55%

A lot of businesses in Aruba depend on tourism for revenue, but with the projection of hotel occupancy falling under break-even point, many businesses will be operating at a financial loss during Aruba’s tourism recovery period, until the situation normalizes. 

The sooner the world gets the coronavirus situation under control, the better it will be for all of us, including tourism in Aruba.



Support Local Business in Aruba

As soon as coronavirus is over, we all should contribute to and support our local business. Starting in your own country where you live. 

When we finally decide to travel again, we should support local businesses abroad and stimulate their economy. 

Vicky Perez, a local entrepreneur and manager of Courtyard By Marriott in Aruba recently made a video of local professionals and entrepreneurs in that pledge to stay home, safe and continue to support locally owned business after we get out of this pandemic.

We are all in the same situation, together we can help each other. 

Watch the video here (I’m also featured in it, I’m the first face in the video – I wish you to stay safe & stay healthy).


Support & Donate To Vacations By Aruba

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Your generous donations will be used to cover our maintenance fees and operating costs to keep the website online.

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Blood Plasma Therapy To Treat Coronavirus

Nephrologist Dr. Za Choudhry gets approval by the doctor’s committee in Aruba to start an “Aruba-COVID Study” to treat critically ill patients in the hospital affected by coronavirus.

Aruba-COVID study is an investigation to use blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. The research is based on the successful treatment using blood plasma of recovered patients of diseases in the past, including Spanish flu, MERS and SARS. 

The question is, will the same therapy work on coronavirus patients?

Hopefully the blood plasma from recovered patients that contain antibodies that can help sick patients recuperate or boost immunity for those at high risk of contracting coronavirus. 

Aruba is the first island in the Caribbean to start investigating blood plasma to treat coronavirus patients. Several other countries around the world are also investigating the use of blood plasma therapy, including China, Switzerland, Netherlands and the United States. 

The blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients may contain antibodies that can help sick patients recuperate. After a patient successfully recovers from coronavirus, the blood contains antibodies that help fight off the disease. 

The study needs to prove that this blood plasma is effective in treating coronavirus in critically ill patients. 

latest news out of Aruba

Hospital in Aruba.

Hospital Expands ICU Rooms

The Netherlands transported 12 extra ICU beds, ventilators and medical supplies to Aruba, and other islands in the Caribbean, including Curacao, St.Maarten and Bonaire. 

According to the Health Minister, the hospital had only 6 beds in the ICU, however, they managed to expand this to 21 beds on their own, and have now received 12 extra beds, expanding the ICU rooms to 33 beds.

Testing is the Strategy in Aruba

The current strategy in Aruba is to test as many people as possible who could potentially be carrying the virus in order to mitigate and stop the spread.

Dr. Choudhry says “a low threshold of case finding (for instance screening asymptomatic individuals in the first ring of contact with patients, despite symptoms) could be a potential strategy to prevent more local transmissions in Aruba and can help flatten the curve”.

Patients Are Recuperating

The good news is that 30% of the patients who were diagnosed with Coronavirus in Aruba recuperated. 

This week is the first time Aruba has noted more people recuperating from Coronavirus compared to people testing positive for the disease.

At first 1 person recovered, the first patient who tested positive. After that the number continued to increase to 27 recovered patients. Medical experts are expecting the recovery rate to continue to increase in the upcoming days.

The Latest Coronavirus Statistics (April 12, 2020)

  • Active Positive Case – 60
  • Negative Test Results – 1053
  • Recuperated – 32
  • Deaths – 0




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Flights For Stranded Tourist in ABC Islands

There are hundreds of stranded travelers in Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. 

They are stuck on one of these islands after travel restrictions stopped them from boarding flights and going back home.

The government in Aruba announced that Spirit Airlines has an additional humanitarian flight service to help stranded travelers on the ABC islands to return safely home to the United States.

Spirit Airlines has a scheduled flight on April 15, 2020.

The flight is scheduled to depart from Aruba’s airport (Reina Beatrix). However, travelers stranded on Bonaire & Curacao need to fly to Aruba first with Divi Divi airlines. 

Stranded travelers need to contact the United States consulate on the respective island for additional information. 

Spirit Airlines will depart from Aruba and pick up fellow American travelers in Cartagena Colombia before landing in Fort Lauderdale.

Use Skyscanner App To Find Cheap Flights – Download on iPhone or Android.

When Will Tourism in Aruba Recover

According to the previous president of Aruba Hotel And Hotel Association, Jim Hepple,  it’s difficult to exactly pinpoint when tourism in Aruba will return to normal. 

Compared to prior crises like 9/11, the recession in 2008 and the Nathalee Holloway scandal, it took the island approximately 3 years to recuperate its tourism.

Airlines scheduled their flights in May, but it’s not likely that these flights will continue. Tourism officials in Aruba are expecting flights to slowly pick up in June or July. It can even take up to 10 months, if additional travel restrictions are applied. 

The United States is Aruba’s primary travel market – when tourism will return to normal in Aruba depends on the coronavirus developments in America. 

Tourism in Aruba went from hundreds of thousand travelers a month to zero in a matter of no time. 

Let’s hope travel returns to normal as soon as possible. 

Carnival Cruise Lines published an article that they are intending to start cruising again in May, while other cruise ships are projected to restart service again later this year. 

Carnival Horizon plans to depart on May 16, 2020 from homeport Miami for an 8 day trip toward Aruba, Bonaire, La Romana and Amber Cove.




Aruba COVID-19 Survey

Everyone has been affected by the coronavirus in some way and we are all trying to rebuild and redesign our lives for the future. 

There’s a survey online that you can take that can help our partners at ArubaOnline.news to understand how you have been affected by COVID-19 and how they can help you move forward. 

If you are interested, click here to start the survey – it only takes less than 3 minutes. 

Two Ways To Stress Less

Let’s face it, during crisis times, everyone is stressed and scared. 

But the best thing to do is to remain calm, no matter how hard the world is crashing around us. Staying calm keeps us healthy and available to lend a helping hand to those in need. 

Our partners at Kay’s Fine Jewelry have developed two great offers to help you stress less:

  1. Necklace that is designed to help you stress less
  2. bracelet manufactured by Philip Stein that gives you a good night’s sleep. 

Find out more about how you can destress and stay positive with their offer – read more details here – Destress & Stay Positive and Sunny.

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