Bahamas reverses course, lifts American travel ban

LPIA Bahamas

The Bahamas is once again welcoming travelers after implementing a ban less than two weeks ago on flights from the United States following the spike in COVID-19 cases.

The reopening however comes with a requirement to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or face deportation.

A press release posted Friday on the official Bahamas’ website stated that all visitors and returning residents have the option to spend their two-week quarantine in a private residence or rented accommodation, such as an Airbnb, where it’s possible to isolate in a bedroom with a connected bathroom. Travelers can also quarantine in a hotel room with a connected bathroom or on a private boat.

If travelers don’t have access to the approved quarantine locations, then they’ll have to spend two weeks in a government-mandated quarantine facility, at their own expense.

Prior to travel, the application for a Bahamas health visa must be made, which requires a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from an accredited lab that was taken within 10 days of arrival in the country. Children under the age of 10 and pilots and crew who stay overnight in the Bahamas need not provide a negative COVID-19 test.

Travelers will need to register where they intend to quarantine with the Ministry of Health for approval and also download an app on their phones to assist with contact tracing. Refusing to download the app is another deportable offense.

In order to leave quarantine, travelers will need to test negative on another COVID-19 test after the 14-day period. However, people can leave the country before the end of the quarantine period without taking the test.

In a radio address to the nation on July 19, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced the extraordinary step of barring Americans from entering the Bahamas. He also implemented weekend lockdowns, in addition to a daily curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. as part of an emergency order to slow the spread of coronavirus. 

Lockdowns will be removed on an island-by-island basis according to health indicators.