Flights from the US to the Bahamas will no longer be prohibited, after the island nation reversed a decision that would have kept the majority of US travelers out of the island nation. However, the country is now recommending against all but essential travel, with strict measures for anyone who travels there.

On July 19, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced that beginning on July 22, international commercial flights and commercial vessels carrying passengers would not be permitted to enter its borders, except for flights from Canada, the UK and the European Union. Travelers from the US would not have been permitted, unless they arrived on private charters or pleasure craft and yachts. 

A colorful beach cabana with the Holland America cruise ship Westerdam Bahamas. Image shot 2008. Exact date unknown.
Travellers will have to quarantine in the Bahamas © Caribbean/Alamy Stock Photo

However, the country’s attorney general released a press statement on July 24, noting that the Bahamas would now create a uniform standard of treatment for all visitors, meaning no specific countries would be barred from sending flights. But, rather than this opening up the islands for travel, the ministry of tourism followed this announcement with a press release on July 25, noting that while the Bahamas is open to international flights from all countries, “it is recommended that all international travel to and from the Bahamas is limited only to essential purposes.”

Boardwalk through mangroves in Lucayan National Park, Bahamas.
The Bahamas has placed restrictions on the admission of international visitors © Michael Wigle/500px

Cases have been rising in the Bahamas since travel started opening back up on July 1, and it seems that now travel is being discouraged. Anyone arriving in the Bahamas will have to adhere to a number of protocols, including having a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result from a sample dated 10 days or less before their arrival. They must also complete a Bahamas Health Visa online and have their application approved. 

Anyone arriving will also be placed in a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a “designated Government quarantine facility upon arrival at his/her expense.” Travelers will also be required to undergo a COVID-19 test at the end of their quarantine at their own expense. Strict measures are also in place for residents of the islands, including curfews, lockdowns, beach closures  and restrictions on inter-island travel.

This article was originally published on July 20 and updated on July 27. 

Lockdowns are easing globally as the planet adjusts to a new normal. Find out how COVID-19 is changing travel.

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This article was first published July 2020 and updated July 2020

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