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
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:
- Conservation and protection of Aruba’s protected nature area’s
- 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:
- stop renting UTV/ATV directly to individuals (no more unguided driving), only allowing rentals by guided tours.
- briefing safety rules for each tourist before the start of tours.
- Prohibit dangerous maneuvers such as donuts, fishtailing, and driving over protected nature areas.
- 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.
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.
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?
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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