Blue ocean waters, white sand beaches, and welcoming smiles; the Dominican Republic is not a bad place to spend the spring. Many Americans would agree. Before the pandemic hit, the Dominican was the sixth most popular destination for U.S. travelers. In 2020, 612,000 Americans visited the country, and that was with strict COVID procedures in place.
If you’re planning a trip to the Dominican, here’s everything you need to know before you get there.
Requirements to enter the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is fully open to Americans. Visitors no longer have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to enter the country. Border officials are, however, still performing random COVID tests on a certain percentage of passengers from each flight. Children seven and under are exempt from these tests, and if you show proof of being fully vaccinated or a negative PCR test taken in the last 72 hours, you’ll also be exempt.
Border officials are taking the temperature of everyone arriving at the airport. If you fail the random test or show symptoms of COVID, such as a high temperature, you’ll have to isolate at a predetermined location.
Finally, before entering the Dominican, you have to complete an electronic entry form. The form is a health affidavit swearing that you aren’t showing any symptoms of COVID and haven’t been in recent contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID.
Traveling around the Dominican Republic
As of February 16, all restrictive COVID-19 measures in the Dominican have been lifted. This means that you don’t have to show proof of vaccination to travel around the country or enter public spaces, and masks are no longer mandatory, only recommended.
Hotels are once again allowed to operate at 100% occupancy. Tourist vehicles, such as buses, are allowed to operate at 90% capacity, and any excursions, such as cruises, scuba diving, or horse ranches, are allowed to operate at 85% capacity.
The Dominican government has specified that while rules around vaccination and masks are no longer mandatory, it’s up to the individual business as to whether they enforce them. As a precaution, it’s smart to keep a mask in your back pocket just in case.
Returning to the U.S.
Since December 6, all air travelers aged 2 and over entering the U.S. have to provide proof of a negative COVID test taken within one calendar day of their flight’s departure. This is regardless of vaccination status.
Alternatively, if you’ve had COVID in the last 90 days and can provide written proof from a medical professional, you don’t need to provide a negative test.
COVID numbers in the Dominican Republic
Similar to most countries, the Dominican Republic saw a major surge in Omicron cases throughout January, bringing its grand total number of COVID cases up to 578,000. But since the start of April, the country has managed to keep its daily case numbers down to almost zero.
The low daily case numbers are impressive when you consider that only 54.8% of the population is fully vaccinated. The government has stated that all Dominicans working in the tourism sector must be fully vaccinated.