The Commonwealth of Dominica on Tuesday welcomed the first cruise ship after over a year of no cruise calls due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, stakeholders remain concerned about their safety.
According to an official press release of the Discover Dominica Authority, the “Seabourn Odyssey will be docking
at Woodbridge Bay with approximately 135 passengers. In accordance with approved cruise protocols for Dominica, only vaccinated passengers will be allowed to disembark and proceed on tours in Dominica”.
Emonews spoke with Tourism officials who confirmed that any stakeholder interested in interacting with the passengers need to be completely vaccinated before they can be authorized to do so. However, some bus drivers and vendors have indicated to Emonews that because the vaccine does not prevent someone from contracting the disease, they have not taken the vaccine and are skeptical as to whether we should be welcoming cruise passengers especially in light of the new variants of the disease.
Some bus drivers are calling on those who will be involved in transporting cruise passengers to sanitize their buses and return home after their interactions and do not venture on the regular routes so as to protect local passengers.
In addition, some stakeholders are indicating that while discussions were held for the initial call which was supposed to have been sometime in June, they were unaware of any discussions regarding this present cruise call. Emonews spoke to officials at both the Minand the Discover Dominica Authority who said that discussions were held.
The press release goes on to say that the health and safety of citizens was foremost as the decision to welcome cruise passengers was made.
“As we address the challenges brought on by the pandemic our priority during all of the discussions has always been about the health and safety of citizens and passengers. The approved COVID 19 protocols for Dominica reinforce this strict adherence to measures such as temperature checks, mask-wearing, hand sanitization, safe distancing, and importantly, safe practices for vending and tours. The protocols ensure that only certified actors are allowed to interact with cruise visitors. For this cruise call, only organized or pre-sold tours will be permitted as an initial measure for limiting comingling and maintaining social distancing whilst our visitors enjoy the experience of the nature island”.
Emonews has learned that there were no vendors at the Emerald Pool on Tuesday.
Emonews has also learned that another cruise call is expected next week.
Photo credit: Chad Ambo