Fri | Jul 3, 2020

Prepare for take-off - Marks tells J’cans stranded in US to expect flights soon

Published:Monday | June 1, 2020 | 12:06 AMRomario Scott - Sunday Gleaner Writer

JAMAICANS IN the United States have been told to start packing their bags as commercial flights are set to resume to their homeland in a matter of days as the Government moves to relax border restrictions implemented to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Jamaican Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks, made the disclosure as the Dr Nigel Clarke-chaired COVID-19 Economic Recovery Taskforce has recommended that the Government relax recently implemented border closure measures to kick-start the process of improving the country’s finances.

“This includes the phased opening of international airports, first to Jamaicans who wish to return, and then to others under ‘new normal’ procedures at all times consistent with public health guidance,” the task force stated in an update on its deliberations.

Jamaicans in the United States have been anxious to return to the island and have been expressing their frustration at the uncertainties surrounding the reopening of the country’s borders to passenger traffic. Many have been forced to overstay the permitted time granted to remain in the US, with some visas expiring. Marks said there would be a six-month grace period for such cases.

“So, if you have a valid ticket to travel to Jamaica, we advise you keep that booking. If you do not yet have a ticket, you may await the flight schedules so you can pick a convenient travel date accordingly,” Marks said.

The ambassador said that the Jamaican Government had secured a charter flight from Florida for “persons with the most urgent situation”. She, however, did not give the exact date for when the flight would depart.

“For persons planning to travel to travel from ATL, JFK or BWI and persons preferring home quarantine, these protocols are being finalised and we look forward to providing another update to make your travel plans next Monday, June 1,” the ambassador said.