Maldives Guesthouses set to open from October 15, 2020 – What do you need to know?
It was announced on September 01, 2020 that Maldives guesthouses can re-open from October 15, 2020 allowing tourists to book Maldives holiday packages and tours on local islands.
As we have seen with resort openings it is unlikely that all guesthouses will re-open on this date and in order to do so there are a number of guidelines that need to be followed by the local island and the property to ensure the safety of both tourists and local communities.
Under the ministry’s guidelines, guesthouses seeking to restart operations must submit a permit, issued by the relevant island council, to the Tourism Ministry.
What requirements must a local island provide?
Below are the key requirements that need to be available on the local island. At time of writing further detail has yet to be released.
– Designated isolation and quarantine facilities must be present on the island for positive and direct contact persons.
– A COVID-19 task force must be actively operating on the island. (Capacity of the task force will be determined by HPA).
– The island must have a designated vehicle to transport patients from guesthouses to facilities, in case a tourist tests positive for the virus.
– The hospital or health center of the island must be equipped to deal with COVID-19 cases.
– The hospital or health center of the island must have an isolation room.
– There must be enough human resources for sample collection and clear arrangements to transfer samples to a COVID-19 facility.
– A flu clinic with medical officers and screening facilities must be established.
Following the submission of a permit issued by the respective island council, the Maldives Tourism Ministry will grant a conditional permit to the guesthouse to complete the required preparations.
What are the requirements that every local guesthouse must meet?
Below are the key requirements that need to be followed by the guesthouse. At time of writing further detail has yet to be released.
– Disclose the safety measures set in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 in their property Health & Safety Plan.
– Provision of a temporary isolation facility for tourists or staff with COVID-19 related symptoms in the guesthouse.
– Covid-19 related awareness training and awareness signage placed within the guesthouse premises.
– Availability of basic first aid and infrared thermometer.
– Availability of hand sanitizing measures.
– Ensure that social distancing can be maintained in the guesthouse.
– Stock enough first aid kits and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
– Staff members must wear a particular uniform and wear masks during working hours.
– A changing room for staff members must be available in the guesthouse for them shower before they leave following their duty.
– Staff members must use the TraceEkee mobile application.
All the facilities and services provided from the guesthouse must be within the HPA guidelines and all the staff must be aware of the health and safety plan.
Which Local Island Guesthouses have received Government Approval to Operate?
With the announcement that guesthouses in Greater Male will re-open from 14th December, 2020 we have created a separate document that lists all approved properties, within Greater Male and nationwide. This is updated regularly as further properties are approved.
What are the requirements for tourists staying on a local island?
– Travelers must have a confirmed pre-booking and provide emergency contact information.
– All guests checking in to a guest house must have received 2 doses of vaccine approved by WHO as listed on the emergency vaccine list. Only after 14 days following the second dose will the vaccination be accepted as completed.
Children who are too young to be vaccinated can travel with vaccinated adults and stay at a guesthouses.
– Local Islands that have met the vaccination requirements stipulated by the HPA that can accept vaccinated tourists can be found here. This document will also be used for Immigration checks.
– A certificate showing a negative PCR test taken a maximum of 96 hours prior to your flight departing from your country of origin. This is a requirement for all passengers including children.
– An online health declaration form must also be completed within the 24 hour period prior to arrival in the Maldives.
– All tourists are encouraged to download and use the TraceEkee mobile application.
– Tourists staying at guesthouses are mandated to wear masks whilst walking around on the island and when entering an enclosed space shared with many individuals.
– Tourists may make use of services such as cafes, restaurants, shops and transport services, ensuring Maldives social distancing measures and HPA guidelines for establishments followed.
– Tourists may make use of excursion and diving operators providing Maldives social distancing measures and HPA minimum guidelines for such operations are followed:
Existing inter-island travel restrictions must be followed; hence excursion trips should not pick tourists from resorts.
Symptomatic people should not be allowed onboard.
During excursions and fishing trips minimize the number of persons on the trip to allow for adequate physical distancing.
Ensure that physical distancing is maintained while on board including sitting arrangements inside the boats.
Wear masks in enclosed spaces.
Avoid taking any unnecessary material on board that is not required.
Avoid sharing equipment and food items during trips.
Soap and water / hand sanitisers should be available on board.
Surfaces and equipment should be cleaned and disinfected after every trip.
– Tourists are prohibited from entering homes of islanders.
– When checking out from their final guest house stay, tourists must complete a mandatory PCR test.
If you would like further information on what to expect when you visit a local island head over to our blog post:
From 14 December, 2020 guesthouses and hotels in the Greater Male area welcome long stay guests.
We recommend that you also refer to the websites of the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives for the most up to date information and to your own home Foreign Travel Advice, as part of your travel planning.
At Secret Paradise we have reviewed all our operational practices to ensure our guest’s comfort and safety. We will also be conducting our annual partner property audits which will now include checks on the above requirements, along side our usual checks carried out on standards, amenities and facilities, health and safety and responsible tourism operations.
Want to find out how you can experience the Maldives in a safe and secure way? Take a visit to our website and select from tours, cruises and accommodation.
The team at Secret Paradise have you covered.