The Bahamas reopened its international borders to tourists on July 1, and here is what travelers need to know before visiting the popular Caribbean destination.
On Tuesday, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation announced that all arrivals to the island chain would need to present a verified, negative coronavirus test that is less than seven days old.
Those exempt from the rule include children under 10 years old, private pilots who do not deplane and citizens and residents returning after less than 72 hours or from an approved country.
Travelers arriving in The Bahamas without an approved negative result will either have to pay for a test once they arrive or quarantine for 14 days. Anyone showing possible coronavirus symptoms will be transferred to an area away from other passengers for further evaluation.
Phase 1 of The Bahamas’ reopening plan began June 15 with private aviation, boaters and yachters being permitted to arrive on the island. On July 1, the country will welcome both international and domestic commercial airlines, allow the opening of hotels and vacation rentals and resume transportation options like taxis and buses.
As international tourists begin arriving again, they will be required to follow The Bahamas’ “Healthy Traveler Campaign,” which regulates social distancing measures, cleaning and sanitation methods and the use of face coverings in specified public places.
“Our top priority has and will always be our commitment to the health and well-being of our residents and visitors,” Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation Director-General Joy Jibrilu said in a statement. “We must remember that we are living in a new normal in the wake of COVID-19 and a lot is going to change across the tourism sector.”
“We are putting an even greater emphasis on making sure The Bahamas is safe and clean for everyone and look forward to once again providing travelers with the tropical experience our islands are known for,” Jibrilu continued.
Airports and seaports across the country will also conduct temperature screenings for all incoming visitors, while hotels will follow new rules, including enhanced cleaning protocols and schedules, limiting the number of guests and employee health monitoring.
Tour operators and local attractions are required to establish a maximum number of guests, develop a touchless shopping experience and spread out chairs between family units to ensure social distancing.
In addition, restaurants will do away with traditional buffets in favor of single or prepackaged meals, add disposable menus and require all employees to wear disposable masks and gloves.
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