July 1, 2020, will mark the start of The Bahamas’ Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan’s second phase, when it will begin welcoming back international visitors, with the exception of travelers from China, Iran, Italy and France.
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation noted that its continuing responses will evolve in line with COVID-19 trends moving forward and that additional guidance will be issued accordingly.
The following policies and procedures will apply to all inbound travelers to The Bahamas, beginning July 1:
—All incoming visitors must submit a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR (Swab) Test result upon arrival, which must be no more than ten days old. (Exemptions include children under the age of two; private-aircraft pilots who do not deplane; and Bahamian citizens, residents and homeowners returning from English-speaking CARICOM countries.
—All incoming travelers must complete an electronic Health Visa form (additional details are forthcoming).
—While quarantine won’t be required upon arrival, visitors who display COVID-19-like symptoms may be transferred to an area apart from other passengers for further evaluation and testing.
—All inter-island travelers are required to complete an electronic Domestic Travel form at travel.gov.bs prior to transferring between islands of The Bahamas. An automated confirmation will be issued upon form completion, the proof of which travelers will need to present upon arrival at their destination (a critical component of contact-tracing efforts).
—At airports and seaports, all incoming travelers will receive temperature screenings conducted by healthcare personnel. Visitors will be required to wear face masks in any area or situation where physical-distancing guidelines must be enforced, such as while traversing air and sea terminals, passing through security and customs screenings, and at baggage claim.
After arrival on the islands, visitors should expect to adhere to The Bahamas’ “Healthy Traveler Campaign,” which instructs both tourists and residents to continue practicing recommended social-distancing measures, regularly washing hands and applying hand sanitizers and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks, while out in public.
Included in Phase Two will also be the reopening of hotels and resorts, plus such private vacation rentals as Airbnb and HomeAway properties.
International and domestic air carriers will be allowed to resume service and some have already announced plans for resumption of routes to The Bahamas:
— Delta Airlines will restart twice-daily service from Atlanta to Nassau on July 2.
— United Airlines will resume daily Houston-to-Nassau service starting July 6 and its Denver-to-Nassau service (Saturdays only) from July 11.
—American Airlines plans on resuming flights to Nassau and Exuma beginning July 7.
—Air Canada is set to resume service from Toronto to Nassau on July 3.
Further flight resumptions are expected to be announced within the coming weeks, as tourism operations to the islands regain momentum.
Phase Two reopening protocols build upon and support The Bahamas’ existing, government-issued rules and regulations for post-COVID-19 reentry into the tourism sector, following Phase One (which allowed international boaters, yachters and private-aircraft passengers to resume travel) and the resumption of inter-island domestic travel for Bahamian citizens and residents.
Collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Health and other regulatory agencies have recently resulted in the establishment of a Certification Agency, which will enforce The Bahamas’ “Clean & Pristine” certification program across the destination.
All tourism-related, customer-facing businesses and organizations must adhere to the government’s approved health and safety guidelines to receive their certifications, and post adequate signage at all locations to help enforce these policies among their staff and visitors.
For more information, visit bahamas.com.
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