Barbados considering plan to allow visitors to stay and work remotely there for a year
The fishing village of Bathsheba faces the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast of Barbados. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Fuhrmann)
TORONTO -- In a bid to boost tourism and reinvigorate the economy, the prime minister of Barbados is considering allowing visitors to stay and work remotely in the island country for a year.
Last week, the island nation’s prime minister, Mia Mottley, revealed that her government is looking at introducing a 12-month “Barbados Welcome Stamp.”
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Mottley said the stamp would give visitors the opportunity to “come and work from here overseas, digitally so, so that persons don’t need to remain in the countries in which they are.”
According to the Barbados Government Information Service website, Mottley said the COVID-19 pandemic had made short-term travel more difficult because of requirements for testing for the virus.
As an alternative, the prime minister proposed the idea of travellers coming to Barbados for a lengthier stay, during which, they could continue to work remotely.
“You don’t need to work in Europe, or the U.S. or Latin America if you can come here and work for a couple months at a time; go back and come back,” Mottley said during a speech at the official reopening of a restaurant in the St. Lawrence Gap neighbourhood on July 1.
Even though Barbados is mulling over a one-year “welcome stamp” to visitors, the Canadian government still advises against all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.
“The governments of those destinations that have opened their borders to tourists could impose strict travel restrictions suddenly, should they experience an increase in cases of COVID-19,” an advisory on the Canadian government’s website reads. “International transportation options could be reduced significantly, making it difficult for you to return to Canada.”
Barbados is set to reopen its borders to international travellers on Sunday, July 12.
According to the U.S. embassy in Barbados, the resumption of commercial flights will begin on July 12 with Air Canada, which will run flights to and from the island nation on Thursdays and Sundays.
British Airways, Jet Blue, Virgin Atlantic, and American Airlines will also operate flights to Barbados on dates after July 12.
There will be a number of new health protocols for visitors arriving to the airport in Barbados, including a PCR test for coronavirus, mandatory face mask use, and health screening. Travellers from high and moderate-risk countries, including Canada, will be monitored for the onset of symptoms for seven days.
Even before the borders reopen, Barbados has already started relaxing COVID-19 pandemic measures and lifting curfews.
On June 15, the government lifted restrictions on open hours for beaches and parks. On July 1, physical distancing requirements were reduced to a one-metre distance and all curfew restrictions were cancelled.
According to the U.S. embassy in Barbados and data compiled by John Hopkins University, the Caribbean country currently has 98 confirmed cases of COVID-19.