The Prime Minister of The Bahamas announced Sunday the country would close its borders to international commercial flights and vessels carrying passengers from the United States due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Bahamas Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said the number of confirmed coronavirus cases on the islands is on the rise, which has forced the government to ban American citizens arriving commercially. The order goes into effect on July 22 at midnight.
Air travel has been impacted by the decision as well, with Bahamasair ceasing outgoing flights to the United States, effective immediately. The outgoing flights will still be permitted to accommodate any current visitors scheduled to return to the U.S after July 22.
“Since opening borders to international travel on July 1, The Bahamas has unfortunately experienced a deterioration in conditions relative to COVID-19,” The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation said. “These restrictions have been put in place to protect the health and wellbeing of both residents and visitors, which remains of primary importance, and to prevent the spread of the virus throughout The Bahamas.”
“The Bahamas is reviewing and being guided by the most effective practices from around the world,” the statement continued. “Reopening of borders will continue to be monitored and guided by The Bahamas government and health officials, based on COVID-19 trends.”
Travelers from the U.S. will still be permitted to enter the islands when arriving by private international flights and charters, yachts and pleasure craft. Travelers from Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union are exempt from the new emergency order.
Regardless of where tourists arrive, all visitors will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test from a referenced lab and fill out an online Health Visa form.
Everyone is required to wear masks during travel and throughout the entry process, and anyone displaying symptoms of the virus will be transferred by Bahamian health personnel for further evaluation, testing and possible quarantine. No self-quarantine period is required for those who pass their health checks and are granted entry into The Bahamas.