‘Clean’ expedition ships carrying fewer than 530 passengers will be allowed to visit the Falkland Islands this Southern summer under a new visitor policy approved by the Falkland Islands Government this week.
Qualifying vessels will have had to have been at sea for at least fourteen days and have no symptomatic crew or passengers before they can call into the Falklands, and will need to agree to a set of ‘rigorous public health conditions,’ according to a Falkland Islands Government statement.
In addition, the revised policy will allow for friends of residents to visit the islands if sponsored by a resident who is present in the Islands.
Chair of the Legislative Assembly, MLA Mark Pollard, said: “The decision to make these two additions to the visitor policy were taken following a great deal of consideration. It was therefore agreed that with the extra layer of protection that comes from having the vast majority of our community fully vaccinated, it is time that we start to slowly loosen restrictions to visitors.
‘Expedition ships will have to meet very strict rules before they are allowed to dock in the Islands, and passengers onboard these ships will be considered ‘clean’, having been at sea for at least fourteen days. This will mark the start of a very small tourist season which many operators here have missed, but I want to make it very clear to the public that the health and safety of our community remains at the forefront of our minds and should we again need to tighten our polices we can and will do so without hesitation.’
The Government said the decision was taken as part of the government’s regular review of its ongoing pandemic management plans, adding that ‘the revised policy will also help inform ongoing work in the development of an Exit Roadmap that will seek to provide longer term guidance for the public in terms of a managed and phased staged step down of visitor and quarantine restrictions.’