May 19, 2024
Other Norms

Colombia National Tourism Reopens September 1: Intercity Car Travel, Hotels, Beaches OK

Colombia Commerce, Industry and Tourism (MinCIT) Minister José Manuel Restrepo confirmed August 27 that tourism throughout Colombia restarts September 1 — including intercity private-car, bus and airplane transport modes.

With the lifting of “pico y cedula” restrictions in Medellin, Rionegro and other nearby cities starting next week, that means that people here can at long last start making trips to towns, tourist destinations, hotels and restaurants throughout Antioquia and across Colombia — but limited by Health Ministry protocols.

What’s more, local mayors in areas with relatively high Covid-19 incidence can impose extra restrictions or bans, in coordination with Colombia’s Health, Transport and Interior Ministries. So the broader reopenings may not be as universal or as liberal as some might hope.

In addition, strict Health Ministry protocols will continue on all transport sectors, destinations, hotels, restaurants and public spaces.

For example: mass gatherings — including family-and-friends gatherings – are strictly banned because these are the main sources of Covid-19 cross-contaminations, according to the Health Ministry.

Likewise, hotel occupancy cannot exceed 30% — and restaurants also must enforce social-distancing limits to prevent contaminations. Nor can sit-down bars offer liquor.

“All commerce can operate again from September 1, with compliance with biosecurity protocols,” Minister Restrepo stated.

Both Medellin airports (JMC and EOH) meanwhile are expanding domestic flights in September, with Bogota-JMC and Bogota-EOH flights expected to start by mid-month. Flights to-and-from Cali and JMC start next week, while EOH hosts flights to-and-from 10 Colombian cities (see Medellin Herald August 25, 2020).

International flights continue to be banned, however. Colombia alone cannot control this mode, as origin/destination cities and nations, regulatory agencies and airlines also must coordinate complex approvals and protective measures — such as mandatory tests for Covid-19 infections prior to boardings and arrivals.

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