It’s safe to say that virtually everyone has been affected by the travel restrictions in place due to coronavirus, but Cuba has been hit particularly hard by the ban. Cuba has only been allowed to be open to tourism from the United States in recent years, but thanks to the new policies regarding travel, unfortunately their economy has ground to a standstill.
Strict rules lead to new poverty
Very few countries have such strict travel policies as Cuba. It’s no secret that they have one of the tightest restrictions on travel, and the government has implemented a complete lockdown of the country. All of the popular tourist destinations — such as all of the local watering holes, beaches, and even the restaurants — have been closed indefinitely.
On the upside, closing down all of these social centers has had a profound effect on slowing down the spread of the coronavirus. When compared to neighboring islands, they have some of the lowest reported cases of the virus. On the downside, though, locals are now finding themselves unable to pay their bills.
Families struggling to make ends meet
Back in June, Cuba started to open their borders to a very limited amount of international travel. However, unlike before, these international tourists are no longer allowed to move freely within the country. Before the lockdown, these visitors would be allowed to mingle with the locals and head inland to see more niche interests.
These days, however? They’re restricted to certain tourist regions and cays. This means that they’re forbidden to dip their toes into local waters and try authentic Cuban cuisine at local restaurants. Because of this, families whose livelihood depends upon tourism, have found that their bank accounts have run dry. Where once they were making a living wage entertaining guests, they’re now needed to request financial assistance from abroad.
Even though Cuba has allowed a very scant number of visitors, the volume of tourists is nowhere near what it used to be. Only a few flights have led to Cuba in recent months, and even fewer are allowing visitors to explore the island country. Brand new hotels, which were eagerly awaiting guests, now sit empty and quiet. Tour guides are going home empty-handed every night.
No right or wrong answer
It’s hard to say what the best approach to helping restore Cuba’s economy is. If they loosen their restrictions, coronavirus may start to spread throughout the country. If they don’t, residents may find themselves unable to put food on their tables or pay their bills. Sadly, it would seem that the country is in a standstill, with no lasting solution to this serious problem in sight.