U.S. travelers can go to the Bahamas again — but there’s a catch
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After re-closing its borders to U.S. travelers just last week, the Bahamas has changed its mind — with one condition.
Tourists are now expected to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival at their own expense in a government facility — as well as taking a PCR COVID-19 test at the end of quarantine. However, they aren’t required to take a test before coming to the country.
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The requirements were officially signed as an emergency order by Prime Minister Hubert Minnis on July 22.
The reversal of government policy was noticed when the Nassau Guardian first reported that the relevant rules made by the island nation’s Parliament were different than what Minnis had announced.
The prime minister’s stated that commercial air and sea travel would be restricted for all countries except Canada, the U.K. and European Union countries. U.S. travelers would have only been allowed if they had arrived via private planes and boats.
After the release of the editorial, Attorney General Carl Bethel released a press statement to confirm this sudden reversal of the prime minister’s orders without giving a specific reason:
“The provisions governing the admission of foreign visitors to The Bahamas were changed in order to create a uniform standard of treatment for all Visitors to The Bahamas during this pandemic emergency. The creation of a uniform framework means that there is no longer any need to create any list of countries from which The Bahamas would accept commercial flights; which list thereby excluded other countries.”
The Bahamas, like any other country, is facing a dilemma of balancing public health and its own economy. Politicians in the country, like the attorney general, are trying to advocate for the extension of emergency orders to quell an increase in coronavirus cases.
Yet the debate among Bahamian politicians have mostly focused on the ability for its citizens to travel abroad. While past rules allowed tourists to come to the Bahamas with negative coronavirus testing, Bahamians did not have to present such an evidence if they were traveling abroad for less than 72 hours.
While the government has not attributed to a specific reason for recent increase in cases, both Prime Minister Minnis and Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar have blamed Bahamians coming from overseas as the reason.
This rationale may have been the motivation behind the prime minister’s original intention to only allow flights from non-hotspot areas such as Canada, the U.K. and the E.U — and limit destinations that Bahamians can travel to.
Meanwhile, TPG has compiled country-by-country Caribbean guide for more on when other destinations are planning to welcome guests.
Featured photo by Pola Damonte/Getty Images
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