The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation is preparing for Phase 2 of its Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan, which will begin on July 1 and would allow for the resumption of international travel to the Bahamas.
Due to the recent increase of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and in an abundance of caution for the health and safety of both travelers and residents, all incoming visitors must present a COVID-19 RT-PCR negative (swab) test upon arrival. Those arriving in the Bahamas between July 1 and July 7 must present results no more than 10 days old. Those arriving in the Bahamas after July 7 must present results no more than seven days old. Select individuals will not be required to provide a test:
- Children under the age of two
- Children between the ages of three and 10, provided their state or county of residence does not administer tests for children under that age; parents or guardians must provide proof of testing restriction upon arrival
- Private pilots who do not deplane
All travelers will be required to complete an electronic health visa prior to departure at travel.gov.bs. Each traveler will need to upload their test results and provide contact information that is crucial for contact tracing purposes. An automated response will be provided upon completion, and it is essential that travelers present proof of confirmation upon arrival in their destination. No quarantine will be required upon arrival; however, travelers who show symptoms of COVID-19 may be transferred to an area away from other passengers for further testing and evaluation.
At airports and seaports, healthcare personnel will conduct temperature screenings for all incoming visitors. Travelers will be required to wear a face mask in any situation where it is necessary to enforce physical distancing guidelines, such as when entering and transiting air and sea terminals, while navigating security and customs screenings, and at baggage claim. New fines and penalties for all persons, including Bahamian residents and visitors have been established for those not wearing face masks in areas where it is required.
As part of Phase 2, hotels and vacation rentals, including Airbnb and HomeAway, will open to guests. Domestic and international airlines are permitted to resume service, and many are beginning to announce plans for their return to the Bahamas:
- Southwest will resume daily service between Baltimore and Nassau on July 1
- JetBlue will resume daily service between New York (JFK) and Nassau, as well as Fort Lauderdale and Nassau on July 2
- Delta will be resuming its twice daily Atlanta to Nassau service July 2
- United Airlines announced its daily Houston to Nassau and Newark to Nassau service will resume July 6, while Saturday-only Denver to Nassau service will resume July 11
- American Airlines will resume daily flights between Charlotte and Nassau; Miami and Exuma; Miami and Eleuthera and twice daily flights between Miami and Nassau on July 7
Additional airlift resumptions are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. Travelers should check with airlines directly for details on recommencement of service and any protocols for travel.
Phase 2 of tourism re-entry builds on and supports existing government rules and regulations, which already allows for the resumption of travel for international boaters, yachters and those traveling on private aviation, as well as inter-island domestic travel for Bahamian citizens and residents. Phase 3, beginning July 13, allows for the reopening of attractions, excursions and tours. Phase 4, beginning July 27, allows for vendors (including straw vendors) and jet ski operators to resume operations.
Once on island, travelers should expect to follow the Bahamas’ “Healthy Traveler Campaign” that encourages both visitors and residents to continue practicing social distancing measures, regularly wash hands or use hand sanitizers, and pack appropriate PPE such as face masks, just as they would their swimsuits and sunscreen.
A certification agency has been established—representing a collaboration between the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Health, and other regulatory agencies—to enforce a Clean & Pristine certification program across the islands. All tourism-related, customer-facing entities in the Bahamas must verify they have in place and are adhering to the government-approved health and safety guidelines to receive the Clean & Pristine certification. Travelers are encouraged to visit direct business websites prior to booking or traveling to ensure they are aware and comfortable with the policies they will need to abide by.
Reopening of borders will continue to be monitored and guided by The Bahamas government and health officials. Reopening dates are subject to change based on COVID-19 trends, if there is a deterioration in improvement or if government and health organizations deem these phases unsafe for residents or visitors.