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Panama outlines protocols ahead of reopening to all travelers

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Panama plans to open its borders to international visitors from all countries on Oct. 12.

With COVID-19 still a worldwide concern, the Panama Tourism Authority has worked closely with the Ministry of Health, alongside other government authorities, to implement health and safety protocols aimed at keeping visitors and local communities safe.

'After closing our borders to travelers in late March, we are excited to safely welcome visitors back to Panama,' Tourism Authority Administrator Ivan Eskildsen said, adding that the country has achieved the World Travel & Tourism Council's 'Safe Travels' stamp of approval.

Mandatory testing before arrival

All incoming travelers, including Panamanians, must present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test upon arrival, which must be taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival.

If a COVID-19 test is taken more than 48 hours before arrival, passengers will be mandated to take a rapid test at the airport prior to customs inspection and are responsible for the cost, approximately US$30. Passengers must also complete an electronic affidavit before checking in for their flight.

Masks a must

Surgical face masks are required at all times when arriving and transiting through Tocumen International Airport and would only be removed for identification purposes. Travelers should be prepared to present their negative COVID-19 test result at customs. Additional precautions are being implemented at the airport to ensure the safety of its employees and guests such as temperature screenings and physical distancing measures of a minimum of two meters.

In the case of elevated temperature, passengers will be subject to a rapid COVID-19 test at their expense and/or additional health screenings. If the test result is positive, the Panamanian government will facilitate a hotel stay at no cost to the traveler for a mandatory quarantine of seven days at which time another test will be administered.

Touchless options, reduced capacity for tours, venues

Beyond the airport, masks are required in all public spaces, for residents and visitors alike. There is an increased availability of hand sanitizing stations, electronic payment options, standing or digital menus and maps accessible via smartphone. Visitors may need to make reservations as restaurants are limiting the number of diners.

Tour operators and attractions are required to reduce capacity 50% in ground transportation vehicles, and event spaces are limited to 30% capacity and four people per table.

 

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