Bahamas Rolls Back Tourism Reopening, Bans Americans

Filed Under: Travel

The Bahamas is rolling back its tourism reopening in the coming days, after a recent spike in coronavirus cases.

The Bahamas opened to tourists this month

The Bahamas opened to tourists as of July 1, 2020. Like so many countries, the Bahamas tried to find the right balance between restarting tourism and protecting its people. Roughly 50% of the country’s GDP comes from tourism.

The Bahamas required international visitors to present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken no more than 10 days prior to the date of travel.

While we’ve seen many countries require testing for visitors, the Bahamas took a different approach than other countries:

  • Many countries require a negative result for a test taken within 48-72 hours of travel; given testing processing times right now, that’s largely not realistic
  • 10 days is a more realistic timeline for getting a test and a result nowadays, though at the same time the test is potentially so old at that point that it’s of limited use

Bahamas rolls back tourism reopening

While the Bahamas had no new reported coronavirus cases between June 17 and July 9, that has changed in recent days. The country has seen 17 new confirmed cases between July 10 and July 19, and as a result the country is adding restrictions on visitors.

As of Wednesday, July 22, 2020, international commercial flights and commercial vessels carrying passengers will not be permitted to enter the Bahamas, except for commercial flights from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.

Private international flights and charters for Bahamians, residents, and visitors, will be permitted. Pleasure craft and yachts will also be permitted.

As you can see, this excludes most Americans from visiting the Bahamas, and that’s the biggest tourist market for the country. Note that Americans aren’t explicitly banned — it’s just commercial flights between the US and the Bahamas that are banned, while private flights would still be allowed, for example.

The Bahamas has so far reported 153 confirmed cases and 11 deaths. The country has carried out a total of 2,645 tests.

Bottom line

With an increase in new coronavirus cases, it makes sense that the Bahamas would be rolling back part of its reopening plan. Commercial flights between the US and the Bahamas will be banned as of July 22, meaning that most Americans will no longer be able to travel to the Bahamas.

This once again highlights the general challenges with planning any travel in advance now. Rules constantly change, whether we’re talking about entry rules to a country, or even quarantine rules in a US state.

I imagine the Bahamas won’t be the only country tweaking its reopening plan.

  1. Perfect. I’ve been dying for a beach getaway and Spain just won’t cut it for me. Bahamas with no Americans will do

  2. The virus is spreading like wildfire in the US with little hope of regaining control. It is best for Americans to not travel internationally until there is a vaccine to avoid infecting the rest of the world.

  3. Nobody saw it coming! Nobody.

    At least some covidiots were taught a lesson; I am truly sorry for the innocent Bahamians who will die or suffer lifelong consequences as a result of the idiotic decision to “reopen” by their government.

  4. Ouch!
    Americans just need to write off int’l travel until probably middle of next year. It’s a shitshow!

  5. I don’t think Americans should expect to be traveling much of anywhere until next Spring. I hold U.S. and EU passports, but I’m even reluctant to visit the EU, because I know people will judge me when they hear my voice.

  6. James, I have been in Sweden for over a week. It’s been wonderful and no judgments from anyone. Nobody cares where you came from once you’ve cleared immigration.

  7. Bahamas without Americans sounds amazing! Americans should stay home with the Brazilians, Russians and Indians so the rest of the world can travel safely.

  8. COVID-19 simply reflected that the US is one of the most separated countries in the world and of course wins by percentage the amount of dumbest people.

  9. James, I am a US/UK citizen. My wife is Swedish, and my children are US/Swedish citizens. We live in the US. I believe you are the one who advised me we’d have no issues coming here and you were right. Nobody asked where we lived at check-in in the US, entering the EU in AMS, or when we were swarmed by police checking passports off the plane into Sweden. Just a quick glance each time and we were on our way. Nobody here wears masks and I’ve never felt unsafe. It’s actually the most normal I’ve felt in months, and I don’t feel unwelcome anywhere.

  10. I want to go to Aruba and this terrifies me. A plane full of FLORIDIANS is going to show up and ruin it for everyone.

  11. @Joe Jones

    Technically, yes…but there is also a ban of non-essential travel between the US and Canada. Now, how well the ban is enforced on air travel, that’s another issue.

  12. I follow the news of Grand Bahama because I have a place there.

    Here is the actual story which neither Lucky nor others in this thread have told:

    In the July 1 policy, the Bahamas exempted its citizens who traveled to the USA and returned withing 72 hours from testing. THAT was nuts (because Ft. Lauderdale is the supermarket for Grand Bahamians) and is apparently the source of many new cases.

    I am heartbroken because the Bahamas had a painful but successful lockdown, with ZERO new cases on Grand Bahama for 50 days. Now they have messed it up with lenient travel policies and they are back to square zero.

  13. Lucky isn’t reading your comments, people. He’s too busy enjoying his non-essential international travel to Turkey.

  14. @ James S – the webpage you linked shows Aruba has gone from 111 total cases 7/17 to 115 total cases 7/20 so that’s an increase of 4 new cases over the past three days …. not 10.

  15. To all the people that are gloating about visiting Bahamas with no Americans, I think you grossly under estimate the number of private flights and especially the number of boats that cross from Florida.

  16. It’s incredible that the richest country in the world takes a week to turn round a Covid test. Some California friends thought they were lucky to get a result in 8 days.

    6 hours is all it took down here, and with testing rates ramped up as high as they can go.

    I feel very glad emigrated from the US when we did.

  17. @mitch I’m a Norwegian citizen but I’ve lived here in the US almost my whole life. I don’t have dual, only Norwegian and I’m planning on going to Norway and possibly France in October. Is there any issue going through customs when you got to Sweden? Did you have to fly via a 3rd country to by pass issues when going to Sweden?

  18. It was just 24 hours ago Trump declared the virus is coming under control. Did I mistake the quote and he was speaking about all but 5 countries led by similar idiots? Summer without Americans will be so nice.

    And this Ray says Spain beaches will work just fine. Good food and wine in addition.

  19. Mayank, I was interested in the immigration procedures as well. No questions at all checking in for the flight. We had a layover in AMS and the agent just asked where we were going. We said Sweden and he let us through. I thought we were done with checks but our AMS-GOT flight was swarmed with police as we left the jetway. They just glanced at our passports, made some small talk with our kids in Swedish and let us go. I think I could have entered alone on the UK passport, but it was crystal clear we’d be OK (under Swedish rules) since the rest of my family are Swedish citizens and we traveled together. I don’t know Norway’s rules regarding quarantine, but you will certainly be allowed in as a Norwegian citizen. I didn’t understand why Sweden checked passports entering as we did, since everyone on the flight was already coming from the EU, and their rules don’t restrict intra-EU travel.

  20. If people just socially distanced, wore a face mask and avoided non-essential travel we wouldn’t be in this situation. Funny how many countries have figured out how to handle this virus and yet the US numbers continue to climb.

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