Bahamas Closed to U.S. Visitors Due to COVID-19 Spike

As of Wednesday, July 22, the islands of the Bahamas are closed to U.S. tourists.  In addition, Hubert Minnis, Prime Minister of the Bahamas, confirmed that BahamasAir has already stopped all outbound flights to the United States.

Bahamas Nassau and Paradise Island closed to U.S. Tourists
The iconic Atlantis Hotel and Resort on Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas.  Maybe next year.

Bahamas borders are closed to U.S. tourists

No Americans will be allowed to enter the Bahamas; all seaports, harbors and airports are closed to everyone from the U.S.  What started out as a safe re-opening, has changed so the Bahamian government isn’t taking any more chances.

Things were looking good, and the Bahamas fully re-opened their country to tourism on July 1.  Since then, there have been 49 new confirmed COVID-19 cases.  Hardest hit seems to be Grand Bahama Island, with 31 of the 49 new cases.  What’s tragic is that Grand Bahama was free of coronavirus for two months until re-opening to tourists.  Throughout the Islands of the Bahamas, as of Sunday July 19, there are 153 COVID-19 cases reported. 

“Regrettably, the situation here at home has already deteriorated since we began the reopening of our domestic economy,” said Minnis, who has been serving as the island nation’s acting health minister since May. “It has deteriorated at an exponential rate since we reopened our international borders.”

International tourists are welcome to the Bahamas  

The welcome mat extends to those from Canada, the U.K. and the European Union.  But no one from the U.S., who ironically comprise the bulk of Bahamas tourism.  Tourists from the permitted countries must show proof of a negative COVID-19 RT PCR test taken within 10 days of arriving into the Bahamas.   

Non-U.S. tourists can also arrive by international private airplanes and personal watercraft.  As for heading home, outbound commercial flights are still departing the Bahamas after Wednesday, just not for the short jaunt to the U.S. 

“Our current situation demands decisive action, if we are to avoid being overrun and defeated by this virus,” Minnis said. “We cannot allow our hospitals to be overrun. Many priorities must be balanced, be they health, social and economic.”

Back and forth travel between Nassau, Freeport and other Bahamian islands to South Florida are popular, especially for shopping.  But with Florida’s surge in COVID-19, that has come to a grinding halt.

READ MORE:  How to get to Paradise Island from Nassau Cruise Port

Beginning on Monday, July 20, all public and private beaches in Nassau, nearby Paradise Island and the entire island of New Providence were closed.  Grand Bahama Island is under a 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.  Beaches are also closed.  

Also, because of the increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Grand Bahama, Minnis initiated a new island-wide curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.  effective on Monday. All indoor dining, public and private beaches and parks also will be closed until further notice.

“All congregant activities and gatherings, inclusive of religious services, weddings and funerals and sporting activities will not be allowed, effective Monday,” Minnis said. And beginning Wednesday, Grand Bahama’s international and domestic borders will be closed to all incoming and outgoing flights and sea vessels.

The Prime Minister also stressed that if the situation on Grand Bahama doesn’t improve soon, this coming Friday could see the island in lockdown. 

Fake COVID-19 test certificates

After Bahamian officials began to spot false test results, it’s considered a crime to forge COVID-19 tests.  For those who choose to fake their test results, there’s a $2,000 fine and/or two years in the slammer.  

If someone knows they are positive and exposes or even infects others, there’s now a $1,000 for each person they either exposed or infected.  

The Prime Minister continued, “Countries and people who do not follow sensible public health advice and policies will have more deaths, sickness and chaos.”

Source:  Miami Herald


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