Antigua Guatemala reopens with Protocols as a Safe Destination
While tourism throughout the world has been hit hard with closures worldwide since March, Antigua has been busy preparing to reopen. For many months, streets remained empty with no open doors to lure us into beautiful courtyards with restaurants, stores and exquisite hotels. Tourism had a lockdown. Closed on March 16th, the months of April through July were devastating for 80% of the jobs provided by tourism in Antigua. But behind the walls, efforts began to reopen this magnificent city better than ever.
Work began through the City Government’s SETUR (Secretaría de Economía y Turismo) with weekly meetings including more than 80 business owners and tourism experts. Since June, we networked new guidelines to reopen the city as a Safe Destination. New ideas – and many ideas that we have been talking about for decades – were put on the table. Working hand in hand with the Guatemalan Tourism Commission (INGUAT), protocols were incremented to register businesses – including hotels, stores, restaurants – as well guides and transportation staff – to apply safety protocols to prevent COVID 19 spread. Social distancing is a main factor in realigning the city for national and international visitors alike.
While many restaurants began to provide take out options earlier on, most restaurants and stores opened in August. The Guatemala City airport opens September 18th which will open the door to international tourism once again. Arriving passengers must either provide a negative COVID19 test issued 72 hours prior to arrival or comply with a 14-day quarantine. Everyone in the country still must wear a facemask in public areas. It is common to have one’s temperature taken upon enter shopping areas, restaurants and hotels.
Our Antigua Tours office reopened in August inside the lobby of the Hotel Casa Santo Domingo. Our Antigua Tours Park office inside Café Condesa reopens in October as we remodel our new larger location inside the same beautiful colonial house.
Today, Antigua is reopening! Come visit and enjoy this remarkable city!
Photos courtesy of Nelo Mijangos