Updated: Our 4 day test was similarly efficient to our airport testing. We waited in line for about 15 minutes, were tested in under 10 minutes, and received our negative test results back that evening.
Bermuda Requires COVID-19 PCR Testing prior to travel, at the airport, and on days 4, 8 and 14, if the visitor is still on the island. One of the reasons some of our clients are interested in Bermuda travel, in addition to its proximity to the East Coast (<2 hours by air from NYC) is the island's enviable record with COVID-19. True, the island only has ~65,000 inhabitants, but even with its significant testing of visitors and locals, many days Bermuda reports zero new coronavirus cases, punctuated by the occasional 1, 2 or 3 new cases. To date, 174 of the 188 cases have recovered, and there have been 9 deaths.
Here's our experience so far with COVID-19 testing prior to and on arrival in Bermuda.
Bermuda Pre-Travel Test and Travel Authorization
Bermuda requires a COVID-19 PCR test that is taken within 7 days prior to departure. We took a Vault Health COVID-19 test, which was $143 per person with the $7 JetBlue discount. Since our flight was on a Saturday, we provided our sample (supervised remotely) on Monday, it was received by the lab on Tuesday, and we had our negative test results back on Wednesday. Note that the negative test result must show the traveler's full name, date of birth, date of the test, test result, laboratory name and laboratory contact.
The negative test result in turn enabled us to fill out our Bermuda Travel Authorization application. There's a $75 fee per person 10 years or older, and $30 fee for children age 9 and under. The fees cover mandatory Bermuda COVID-19 testing.
We applied on Wednesday around noon and received two of our approved travel authorizations before 7pm; the third approved travel authorization arrived the next day, on Thursday.
Travel Day: At the Airport in the U.S. and Bermuda
At the airport, we had to show our Bermuda Travel Authorization approvals prior to boarding our flight.
On arrival in Bermuda, we waited about 30 minutes in line, because we sat at the back of the aircraft, where there was much more space to socially distance from other passengers.
First our temperatures were checked. Next we showed a staff member our negative COVID-19 test results. At the next table we presented our approved travel authorizations and were given papers with our names on them to give to the nurses who would administer our COVID-19 arrival tests.
Since our pre-travel tests were saliva PCR tests via Vault Health, we were given both a saliva test with a cheek swab and the PCR nasal swab test. The nasal swab definitely isn't comfortable (5 seconds in each nostril) but was over quickly. We then proceeded through immigration and customs and met our driver (you must use a private driver or taxi to go to your lodging, not public transit).
At the Hotel
At our hotel, we were temperature checked before entering, then checked in at the front desk. The friendly associate explained that, due to the need to quarantine, we'd been provided a courtesy room until our reserved suite was ready (since guests are supposed to quarantine until they receive their arrival test result, and not be in any public areas). That courtesy room was a very nice aspect of quarantine, since we arrived in the early afternoon, prior to the 3pm regular check-in time.
We were instructed to remain in quarantine in our room until we received a negative test result, which we were told normally comes that evening, although it can take up to 24 hours. In the meantime, we were told that our courtesy room key would work exactly once, as would our regular room key, once we were issued it.
Fortunately it did arrive that evening, at 7:30pm, so about 8 hours after we were tested. We forwarded the emails to the Concierge team, and the next morning we stopped by the front desk to have new room keys issued.
Bermuda COVID-19 Testing Day 4
Two days after we arrived in Bermuda we received our test appointment details for Day 4, at the Perots Post Office in downtown Hamilton. Although two of us were instructed to appear between 10-11am and one of us received a 4-5pm appointment, the appointment mentioned that all family members may go together at the same time at the appointment time that's most convenient for the entire family.
We waited, socially distanced by the helpful 6 feet apart markers, for ~15 minutes before being ushered into the post office testing facility. There we presented our passports, and our son, as a minor, was able to take the cheek swab test instead of the nasal swab (which he appreciated). The whole identification and testing took ~8 minutes. Since we'd already tested negative on arrival and been released from quarantine, we didn't have to quarantine while awaiting our 4th day results. We received emails that evening a little before 10pm notifying us of our negative results.
We've been very impressed with the efficiency of Bermuda's COVID-19 testing program. While on paper it may seem like quite a few tests (pre-travel, on arrival at the airport, days 4, 8 and 14 if still on the island), the nature of COVID-19 and the many asymptomatic carriers of the virus warrants this approach, as well as the strict mask wearing in public spaces, transit, etc.
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