A happy TA experience – for a change
I am writing this letter as a rebuttal to “Get your act together, Bermuda” published in the June 4, 2022 edition of the paper and the front-page article “Plans in the pipeline to make TA more ‘user-friendly’”. I for one support Vance Campbell, the Minister of Tourism, in that while the process may need a few improvements to make it work more smoothly, it is not a broken process. I have travelled to Bermuda each year throughout Covid and the process always seemed to me to be reasonable and well-run.
To that end, look at the positivity rate among your citizens in Bermuda and you should be proud. It is and never was anywhere near the rates in New York or New Jersey —home to the web-blogger and letter writer, respectively. I live in a town near the same population as Bermuda and our rates were as high as 25 per cent. You need to be thankful.
The forms that David Anderson, from New Jersey, alludes to were not that hard to fill out in my experience. Your website on the policies and process to enter the country are clear, and I don’t think were hard to navigate. Return-trip testing requirements has been a changing landscape over the past few months and I’m sure the US requirement for a Covid test within one day of return travel caused some of the confusion from US visitors. In fact, it caused me to have to test three times in four days because of flight cancellations from Tropical Storm Alex. That is a minor inconvenience when compared with the absolutely wonderful island you have.
As to the use of the Perot Post Office for testing, while it may be an old building and may look somewhat “unclean”, as Mr Anderson stated, it is not a hospital and shouldn’t be judged as such. The place was clean and everyone there took all the precautions required to make it a safe environment. I, too, was waiting in lines of 50 to 75 people and never did I have to wait more than 30 minutes from the time I entered the line to the time I walked out the door. To me, that is efficient. Disney doesn’t do that well.
As far as the friendliness of the staff working at the testing centre, I felt that they were not there to chat me up, but they were professional, focused and intent on doing their job. I thank them for their support to this process.
Having to pay $40 for the testing is reasonable and owing to a website issue, most likely on my part, I paid twice. Once in early May and once right before my trip at the end of May — not worth making a stink over it. Mr Anderson should have come when it was $75 per person. Small price to pay for your safety and that of your island.
There does appear to be some upgrades needed to the hotline. I tried to use it and just hung up after a short period. I found my answers online elsewhere. So that is one area for improvement.
Finally, I think that the government ministers in Bermuda need to stop listening to a few disgruntled Americans. Mr Wagner states “more than a few passengers confided” that they won’t return. Not exactly a good scientific poll process to quote from.
The US has too many people that feel they are privileged and don’t need to do anything they don’t want to do. The biggest issues I had were trying to get back home after the storm and meeting the US requirements, not those of Bermuda. I had the official Bermuda Government Covid results in two hours or less each time. Kudos!
My wife and I will be back. You are an island paradise, regardless of the Covid restriction.