Three weeks ago, the Bahamas filled prospective US travelers with hope by announcing that it would be reopening its borders to tourism. On Sunday it dashed that hope, closing all airports and seaports to those from the US due to spiking COVID-19 cases in the Bahamas and a continuously dire situation in the US. Tourists from all other countries, however, will still be welcome.
Starting on July 22, Bahamasair, the country’s national airline, will stop all outgoing flights to the US, except in cases where US citizens need to go home. Private international flights and charters will also be banned. If you’re from Canada, the UK, and the EU, this news does not affect you. As long as you can show proof of a negative COVID-19 RT PCR test, taken within 10 days of arrival, you’ll still be allowed to enter.
The announcement comes as the Bahamas registered 49 new infections since the islands opened on July 1. Thirty-one of those infections occurred on the island of Grand Bahama, which had been COVID-19 free for two months. The new travel restrictions are an effort to level off those numbers and prevent them from getting worse.
“Regrettably, the situation here at home has already deteriorated since we began the reopening of our domestic economy. It has deteriorated at an exponential rate since we reopened our international borders. Our current situation demands decisive action, if we are to avoid being overrun and defeated by this virus,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in a statement. “We cannot allow our hospitals to be overrun. Many priorities must be balanced, be they health, social and economic.”