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NASSAU — The Bahamas has reversed its decision to close its borders to U.S. travellers, now allowing all foreign visitors to enter only after completing a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis made the announcement following a weekend of lockdowns and weekly curfews. The country has seen a steady increase in positive COVID-19 cases since it reopened its borders to international travel on July 1.
When reached for comment, the Bahamas Tourist Office told Travelweek that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be an extremely fluid situation for destinations across the globe.
“The Ministry of Health and other government agencies are closely monitoring the situation and evaluating protocols ongoing. As stated by The Bahamas Attorney General on Friday, July 24, travel permissions for foreign visitors, namely those travelling from the U.S., were changed in order to create a singular protocol for all visitors during the pandemic. The mandated 14-day quarantine period allows for the protection of Bahamian citizens, residents and visitors from travel-related spread,” said the Tourist Office.
In accordance with global health guidelines, the mandatory quarantine applies to all visitors, at their own expense, regardless of their planned length of stay.
“We understand that the 14-day quarantine might deter some travellers who only planned for a short visit, but the health and well-being of both residents and visitors remain the number one priority and even greater emphasis is being put on ensuring The Bahamas is a safe and clean destination for all to enjoy,” added the Tourist Office.
“We believe the mandatory quarantine is the best way to curb the spread of coronavirus on our islands. If the visitor tests positive at the end of the 14-day quarantine, they will be required to continue quarantining until test results confirm otherwise.”
As of yesterday, July 27, a daily curfew is now in effect from 7:00 p.m. through 5:00 a.m. All public and private beaches and parks will remain closed, inclusive of hotel and resort beaches, and social distancing guidelines must be followed at all times while outside. Masks are required in any situation where social distancing is enforced. With the exception of hotel restaurants, indoor and outdoor dining are now prohibited, however takeaway, curbside and delivery are permitted. All congregate activities are also prohibited, including religious services, sporting events and social gatherings.
All inter-island travel has been discontinued, effective today, July 28.
While The Bahamas is currently open to international commercial flights from all countries, it is recommended that all international travel to and from The Bahamas is limited only to essential purposes.
All travellers to The Bahamas will be required to adhere to the following:
• Have a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result from a sample dated 10 days or less before arrival (children 10 years old and younger are exempt)
• Complete a Bahamas Health Visa application at https://travel.gov.bs/ before departure and upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result (or select a relevant exemption category) as well as provide contact information; the approved ‘Bahamas Health Visa’ application must be presented at check-in and upon arrival
• Complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a designated government quarantine facility upon arrival at his/her expense, and undergo a COVID-19 RT-PCR molecular diagnostic test at the end of the quarantine at his/her expense
For more information go to https://www.bahamas.com/tourism-reopening.
For more reopening updates from other destinations go to https://www.travelweek.ca/news/destinations-reopening-list-2/.