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American tourists are officially banned from the Bahamas

July 20, 2020
4 min read
American tourists are officially banned from the Bahamas
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Editor's Note

This post has been updated to clarify that U.S. citizens arriving to the Bahamas on private jets or private vessels will be allowed to enter the country. The vast majority of U.S. passengers who arrive to the Bahamas – by air – are barred.</strong>

Editor's note: This post has been updated to clarify that U.S. citizens arriving to the Bahamas on private jets or private vessels will be allowed to enter the country. The vast majority of U.S. passengers who arrive to the Bahamas – by air – are barred.

Americans are discovering a new phenomenon when planning international travel: closed borders. The United States remains one of the world’s hardest-hit countries, recording nearly four million coronavirus cases and over 140,000 deaths.

Most countries are not allowing U.S. visitors right now, as several states like Florida, Texas and California report spikes in cases.

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Now, one country that was open and accessible to American travelers will roll up the welcome mat this week. The Bahamas announced that it would ban U.S. travelers from entering its borders by plane or vessel effective July 22. This is a reversal from an earlier policy for American travelers. On July 1, the country lifted an international travel ban from March and officially reopened to tourists, which included Americans.

“Regrettably, the situation here at home has already deteriorated since we began the reopening of our domestic economy,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said on Sunday. “It has deteriorated at an exponential rate since we reopened our international borders.”

Minnis said there were 41 new cases of the virus since the country reopened its borders. Bahamasair, which serves cities like Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, will stop all outgoing flights to the U.S., according to the Miami Herald.

Commercial flights and vessels from Canada, the United Kingdom, and European Union countries will still be welcome, according to the Ministry of Tourism. Private international flights and charters for Bahamians, residents and U.S. citizens are still permitted. Canada has recorded just 58,000 cases of the virus and the EU remains off-limits to Americans.

Paradise Island in Nassau in the Bahamas. (Photo by Pola Damonte/Getty Images)

This likely isn’t a decision the Bahamas made lightly, given the majority of over five million tourists who visit arrive from the United States. All three major carriers fly direct to the Bahamas, with scores of flights coming from Florida, which has seen positive cases spike. The state has recorded over 350,000 positive cases.

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Much of the Caribbean is open to U.S. travelers, and so far, the region has been spared from the widespread outbreaks in the U.S., Iran and Italy. But, as I reported last month, a surge in cases could be devastating for the region.

“We do not have the health system capacity to accommodate a significant surge in cases … already our health system is on a strain,” said Dr. Yohann White, the medical director at Para Caribe Consulting in Kingston, Jamaica told me last month.

The Bahamas has reported 153 cases of the novel coronavirus and 11 deaths, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University.

For travelers who aren’t American, the Bahamas has implemented a two-step checklist before entering the country. Travelers are required to complete an electronic health visa and present a negative COVID-19 test, taken no more than 10 days before departure. Airlines or sea vessels that allow passengers to board without the health visa will face a fine of $500 per passenger, Minnis said.

Travelers are required to wear a face mask and practice social distancing -- or face a $200 fine, one-month imprisonment, or both.

Featured image by Getty Images

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees