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Government under renewed pressure to scrap TA forms as US drops Covid testing need

LF Wade International Airport (File photograph)

The Government is under renewed pressure to relax Covid-19 regulations for travellers, after the US dropped the need for testing.

From yesterday, travellers entering the US do not have to provide proof of a negative test, although foreigners still have to be vaccinated.

Arrivals to Bermuda have to pay $40 to complete a Travel Authorisation Form and submit a negative test taken no more than 48 hours before travelling.

And they can still be barred from entering the island if they fail to receive official authorisation from the Government.

Some visitors have complained that government approval is not granted until they arrive on the island.

The Government has pledged to make the process more user-friendly, but insists it will remain in place until March, 2023.

Michael Dunkley, the Shadow Minister for National Security, said today that the system was deterring visitors, resulting in a loss in revenue.

Mr Dunkley said: “Again Bermuda has proven to be a follower rather than taking a leadership position.

“The US deciding to eliminate all requirements for a negative Covid test comes at a time when the Government has dilly-dallied with the requirements for our TA and created a two-tier system still putting Bermuda in a very difficult position while many other locations are making it easier to travel.

“The fact that the US has now dropped the need for a negative Covid test will also make it harder for travellers to obtain tests to travel to Bermuda as testing becomes less and less in other jurisdictions as they relax restrictions.

“The One Bermuda Alliance once again calls on the PLP Government to reconsider our current entry requirements for the good of the island and our people.

“The need for the $40 fee by the Government pales in comparison to how much revenue could flow into the island with easier travel requirements.

“I take this opportunity to remind the Government that when the TA was imposed and a fee was attached to it, one of the justifications for the fee was to cover the cost of testing. Now that there is no testing requirements for US entry and the Government does very little testing at the airport, the fee is not justified.

“Again this weekend I have been inundated with concerns of yet more delays with approval of the TA and in the arrivals hall at LF Wade International Airport. This just doesn’t make sense.

“Why should travellers have to experience unnecessary angst, all in the name of what has become an outdated and unnecessary practice?

“Tourism is facing a tough time with the upheaval at the Bermuda Tourism Authority and softness in summer bookings at many island properties.

“Eliminating the TA and fee coupled with a marketing programme to bolster summer bookings can provide positive results for the island and our people.

“What are you waiting for, Premier Burt and colleagues?”

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Published June 13, 2022 at 3:07 pm (Updated June 13, 2022 at 3:07 pm)

Government under renewed pressure to scrap TA forms as US drops Covid testing need

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