Dominican Republic has scrapped all COVID-19 remaining restrictions, including the mask-wearing mandate, President Luis Abinader announced Wednesday.
Unlike most Caribbean nations, the Dominican Republic doesn’t require travelers to present proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test result, or quarantine upon arrival.
According to Abinader, the decision was made due to a substantial decline in COVID-19 incidences and because citizens need emotional recovery.
“Measures such as the use of the mask, the need to present the vaccination card to access all places, or the restrictions in public spaces today are the individual responsibility of each and every one of us. After this long battle, we have begun to recover our freedom,” reads a statement published on the official website.
The President emphasized the importance of continuing to vaccinate those who have not yet been vaccinated, as well as making progress with the vaccination campaign for children aged 5 to 11, which began on Monday.
“We will continue to monitor and observe the situation. The country can also be sure that, unlike in the past, our health system is today prepared to deal with any eventuality,” the president added in the statement.
With tourist numbers exceeding those of most other Caribbean resort islands, Dominican Republic is a remarkable pandemic success story. Easy entry requirements are a draw although residents have expressed concerns.
The overall number of COVID-19 cases reported in the Dominican Republic is estimated to be 570,636, with 4,351 deaths.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, the Dominican Republic received 700,000 foreign tourists in December, more than it had received in any other month prior to the pandemic.
This brought the total number of visitors to nearly five million in 2021, making it the most visited country in the Caribbean in 2021, which was the best financial year in the last 3 decades, according to financial analysts.
Other Latin American nations attracting tourists due to their lack of COVID restrictions are Mexico and El Salvador, although the mask mandate is still in place.