Last week, The Bahamas, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis announced the country would be closing to international commercial flights and commercial vessels carrying passengers from the United States starting July 22. Only two days after the ban on U.S. travelers, Dr. Minnis announced that the Bahamas would again be opening to commercial air travelers from the U.S., subject to a mandatory 14-day government quarantine.
First reported by The Nassau Guardian, the new order (Emergency Powers (COVID-19 Pandemic) (No. 2) Order) states that visitors arriving on via international commercial air travel must, at their own expense, submit to quarantine at a government facility for 14 days and undergo an RT-PCR COVID-19 molecular diagnostic test at the end of the quarantine period, also at the visitor’s expense.
Originally, the ban on commercial air travelers only affected U.S. travelers—those from Canada, the U.K. or European Union were still allowed to enter. With the new order, even travelers from these destinations would be required to undergo the 14-day quarantine. Previous measures, such as providing a negative PCR test upon arrival, are no longer necessary due to the quarantine period.
The Nassau Guardian said, “A mandatory government quarantine of 14 days for all visitors at their expense is tantamount to grinding the country’s tourism industry to a halt.”
In addition, there will be a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. (on Grand Bahama only the curfew is from 7 p.m. to 5 p.m.). Casinos, bars, clubs, museums and more are prohibited from opening, as are regattas, festivals, performance arts and other cultural or entertainment venues.
The (original) ban on U.S. travelers and the subsequent enforcement of a 14-day quarantine is due to increasing COVID-19 cases in the country since it reopened to international tourism on July 1.