By Mayté Solano Gómez

The Institute of Civil Aeronautics of Cuba (IACC) announced this Tuesday, November 10, 2020, that commercial and charter air operations will resume at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana on November 15.

About Jose Marti International Airport

Jose Marti International Airport is the main facility of this type on the island and the main point in the capital for the arrival and departure of travellers, through international and domestic flights.

Currently, the Jose Marti International Airport has 3 terminals for commercial flights and charters. Terminal 1 is used mainly for domestic flights. Terminal 2 receives charter flights from the United States, as well as some long-haul Europeans flights and a few from the Caribbean. There are bars, bookstores, kiosks and a restaurant, as well as car rentals. Terminal 3 is the main international terminal, the largest and most modern, also with facilities such as shops, cafes and other commercial activities, such as car rental.

 Jose Marti International Airport, in Havana, Cuba
Jose Marti International Airport, in Havana, Cuba

Cuba is committed to health and life

Although Cuba is working to restore its economy, including the reactivation of international tourism, the health and safety of both citizens and visitors to the island remain its priority.

As a result of the measures adopted to confront COVID 19, on October 12, 13 of Cuba’s regions passed to the new normal. Only Ciego de Avila and Sancti Spíritus were declared to be in the autochthonous transmission phase, while Havana went to phase 3 of recovery.

In the capital of the country, the restrictive measures issued in September were relaxed, urging the inhabitants of the city to embrace responsibly a new normal. This flexibility led to the restart of the schools on November 2nd and now next reopening of aeronautical activities on Sunday 15th.

Mandatory protocol for Sanitary Control

In the official information issued by the IACC, the emphasis is placed ensuring the health and safety of both locals and foreigners who visit the country, guaranteeing the island as a safe destination. For this reason, aimed at the reopening of aeronautical activities in the capital, the Protocol for Sanitary Control already applied in the rest of the Cuban airports, will be implemented.

The protocol includes, among other measures, a PCR test in the different international terminals for all arriving travellers. There will be a small fee to cover the cost of the test.

Main measures to implement in international airports

In addition to the existing sanitary measures, such as physical distancing of no less than 1.5 meters between people and the mandatory use of the ‘nasobuco’ or masks, other measures established to control the spread of the coronavirus in Cuba, mainly at international airports, are:

• Only travellers will be allowed to enter the airport terminals, except for the disabled and minors who require companions.

• The cleaning and disinfection of the surfaces will be guaranteed, both inside and outside the buildings, as well as the luggage of the travellers.

• Availability in the different areas of alcohol-based hand sanitizer dispensers, as well as foot baths or rugs with a disinfectant solution for the disinfection of shoes and suitcase wheels.

Travellers who do not comply with the established measures will be denied access to the airport facilities or will be removed from them. The airports will have the necessary trained personnel to implement all the measures and facilitate all the processes carried out as part of the arrival or departure.

International tourism and private business in Cuba

Despite the different steps taken to revive international tourism on the island, all Cubans are aware that this is a gradual process, beginning in the state tourist and hotel facilities. Meanwhile, the owners of private houses and other private businesses in Cuba linked to tourism, are preparing to welcome international tourists with excitement, but also caution.

Some owners of private houses in Cuba, such as Hostal Casa Verde 3709 in Cienfuegos, have already received their first bookings, mainly for December. All hope that by this date it will be possible to receive foreign visitors in their homes, although most expect stability to be achieved in the first quarter of 2021.

 Hostal Casa Verde 3709 in Cienfuegos
Hostal Casa Verde 3709 in Cienfuegos has already received its first bookings for December 2020

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