14 TCHTA MEMBERS APPROVED AS COVID-19 TESTING CENTRES
PRESS RELEASE: With the recent Center for Disease Control announcement of new testing requirements for travellers entering the United States, our tourism-dependent destination was faced with an immediate need for an increase in testing capacity to provide visitors convenient access to COVID-19 testing.
The Ministry of Health welcomed the Turks & Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association to complement the make-up of a Task Force assembled to develop a strategy that would significantly bolster the country’s capacity for testing. TCHTA members, led by President Todd Foss, quickly rallied and offered assistance for a timely solution.
While Turks and Caicos is fortunate to be one of the first destinations in the region to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine program, the need for visitors to test prior to their return home could easily threaten the vitality of the hospitality sector, already fragile due to the effects of the global pandemic.
The Ministry of Health thoughtfully and swiftly rolled out a certification programme with strict requirements enabling the certification of resorts and businesses as testing sites. An inspection and training programme was dispatched soon after, and MOH personnel ensured designated staff members at all properties were guided in the administration of the Lateral Flow Antigen tests accepted by the US.
Through this remarkable partnership, the country’s testing capacity saw exponential growth in a matter of days. Fourteen (14) TCHTA members are now approved testing sites with more applications currently being processed. Those members are: Amanyara Resort, Associated Medical Practices, Beaches Resort, Club Med Turkoise, COMO Parrot Cay, Flamingo Pharmacy, Grace Bay Club, Grace Bay Medical Centre, InterHealth Canada, Omnicare Medical Center, Sailrock Resort, Seven Stars Resort & Spa, The Palms, and The Shore Club.
To facilitate the needs of guests on-island departing within the first few weeks of the new requirement, TCHTA member Seven Stars Resort graciously provided a portion of their on-island kits to other approved testing sites, ensuring guests convenient and timely access to testing.
President Todd Foss stated, “It was inspiring to see the public and private sectors working so well together in order to solve yet another serious threat to the economy of the island”.
The association is also working to educate members and their teams on the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine and TCI’s vaccination programme. Ms. Alrisa Gardiner, Primary Health Care Manager of the Ministry of Health, was invited to lead a session for the association’s 200-member group.
learned about the properties of the vaccine, who should and should not
take the vaccine, the importance of herd immunity and more. To
date thousands of residents have received their first doses of the vaccine
in Turks and Caicos in just a few weeks.
The Turks and Caicos Islands is a recipient of the Safe Travels Stamp issued by the World Travel Council. With the country’s vaccine roll-out and the increased testing capabilities, TCI proudly maintains its designation as one of the safest and most convenient places to travel to.
With a firm commitment to the sustainability and longevity of this country’s leading sector, the TCHTA is proud to partner with Government and the Ministry of Health in these efforts to ensure the protection and continued strengthening of the industry and brand TCI.