NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Amended emergency orders released yesterday eliminates the need to obtain a negative COVID-19 test prior to inter-island travel with the exception of traveling from and between Grand Bahama and New Providence.
The order amends the Emergency Powers (COVID 19 Pandemic) No. 5) Orders 2020.
According to the amended orders, anyone seeking to travel to another island must still obtain a travel visa prior to traveling, and upon arrival on the island submit to mandatory quarantine at a government approved facility for 14 days.
However, anyone traveling from New Providence and Grand Bahama — which lead the country in COVID-19 cases — must obtain a negative RTPCR COVID-19 test prior to applying for a travel visa.
This also applies to travelers between the two islands.
The result of the COVID-19 test must be “valid for a period of five days from the date which the test was taken”.
Children 10-years-old or younger are exempt from the testing requirement, but will also be required to quarantine.
Quarantine for 14-days is not required for anyone traveling among islands in the first schedule of the orders, which include Chub Cay, Harbour Island, Long Cay, Long Island, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador, and Spanish Wells.
The amended orders maintain that all passenger must wear face masks, and operators or any aircraft or mailboat carrying passenger inter-island must deny anyone not wearing a mask or who has not presented to the carrier upon embarking, a travel visa.
An operator who permits a person to travel contrary to the order shall be liable upon conviction of a fine of $500 per passenger.
A person traveling inter-island for an emergency, evidenced by written confirmation from a health officer or the police force; and employees of an operator or an aircraft or vessel transporting freight and passengers will be exempted from obtaining a health visa or quarantine upon arrival.
The competent authority reserves the right to exempt in writing any person traveling inter island from the requirement to undergo quarantine where “exceptional circumstances exist”.
The amended order provides for public officers traveling for government business who have written confirmation that they are traveling for “immediate government business” will also be exempted from the quarantine requirement.
A COVID-19 negative test in still required for a public officer in these circumstances.
Additionally, the orders give the minister of education the authority to grant approval to a school to engage in face to face instructions provided the Ministry of Health has determined “it is safe to do so”.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis signed the order dated September 4.