Travelers to the Bahamas will have to observe curfews and other restrictions for the time being ©Peter Sitterli/500px
Travelers to the Bahamas will have to observe curfews and other restrictions for the time being ┬ęPeter Sitterli/500px

What travel looks like in the Bahamas in 2020

TripFalcon September 10, 2020

Last Update: 2020-09-10 10:43:53

The Bahamas reported its first case of COVID-19 on March 15, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs closed the borders 10 days later. Four months later, there were just 119 confirmed cases across the islands, but cases jumped in mid-July and the travel restrictions that were lifted July 1 were rolled back. This week, however, the government announced that many restrictions would begin to life on October 15, with major hotels, resorts and beaches opening up. Here’s the latest.

Travel restrictions in the Bahamas

After s surge in hospitalizations and demand for ICU beds a new national lockdown was initiated in early August and travel was limited to essential purposes. In recent weeks some restrictions have lifted and the Bahamas is looking towards moving into phase three on October 15, which will see more frequent flights return to the country. All travelers arriving in the Bahamas will have to follow the lockdown protocols and all other travel policies contained in the latest Emergency Powers Order.

Travelers who do arrive there will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. 

Cruise ships have not yet returned, but when they do, protocols could include the advance submission of health declarations, temperature screenings, and restrictions around disembarkation, according to the Bahamas tourism board. 

All incoming visitors and residents – by air and by sea – above age 10 must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 swab test, taken within the previous 10 days. An electronic health visa is also required, and travelers are asked to complete the form in advance by uploading their test results and providing any relevant contact information. Applications take up to 72 hours to process, and those approved will receive a green code to be presented at airport check-in and upon arrival.

Will I have to quarantine when I arrive in the Bahamas?

For now, everyone arriving in the Bahamas is required to quarantine for 14-days when they arrive even in phase three. Travelers will be allowed to quarantine at a hotel, private club, rented accommodations (like Airbnbs), or on a private boat. They will have to submit to monitoring and install the HubbCat APP on their phone for contact tracing.

After 14 days, anyone intending to stay longer in the country will have to complete another COVID-19 test, at their own expense, to exit quarantine. More details, including rules for private aviation and private yachts and pleasure craft, can be found on bahamas.com/travelupdates.

Current lockdown status in the Bahamas

A national lockdown went into effect on Tuesday, 4 August at 10 pm and was lifted after two weeks. Some islands, including Grand Bahama, Andros, Crooked Island, Acklins, Eleuthera, Cat Island, Exuma, Bimini, the Berry Islands, Mayaguana, Inagua, and Abaco, are still subject to a curfew between 10pm and 5am daily.

The Bahamas will enter phase three of its lockdown on October 15, major hotels and resorts will reopen, beach access will be permitted on all islands, and more direct flights will resume from the US, Canada and the UK. Indoor dining will resume on Grand Bahama and the Out Islands and gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed. Attractions and tours will commence on November 1. Find out more details at opm.gov.bs.

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New Providence: Emergency lockdown measures were lifted on August 31, with non-essential shops and businesses reopening with social distancing measures in place. Outdoor dining is permitted in restaurants but beaches are only open from 5am to 9am daily. 

What they’re saying in the Bahamas about COVID-19 and travel

When the Bahamas entered phase two of its reopening on July 1, resuming operation of commercial airlines, hotels and vacation rentals, and transportation like taxis, jitneys, and buses, authorities were cautiously optimistic – but noted that the situation would be closely monitored in the days ahead. 

Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan, with Prime Minister Minnis noting in his July 19 address to the Bahamian people that the situation deteriorated “at an exponential rate” since the country’s borders reopened. “Grand Bahama has seen a resurgence of COVID-19 cases after being Covid-19 free for a little over two months,” he said, an increase that "coincided with the re-institution of international flights and passenger sea transport.” 

The Bahamas is pushing forward with its phase three plans for October 15. The situation – including the travel advice – appears to be changing rapidly in the Bahamas, so check with all relevant government agencies and resources before planning any travel.

Source: lonelyplanet
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