D’Aguilar: Time to reconsider short term trips to Florida

D’Aguilar: Time to reconsider short term trips to Florida
Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D'Aguilar (file photo)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar yesterday said the government is trying to strike the right balance between opening the economy and tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that evidence currently suggest that short term trips to Florida caused a spike in COVID-19 cases on Grand Bahama.

“We said that persons could travel and return within 72 hours without a test. If you returned in 72 hours without a test the requirement was go into quarantine. Some where less disciplined than others.

“From the evidence we have right now certainly in Grand Bahama, the cases of the spread was as a result of persons making those short term trips. I think we need to rethink the short term trips to Florida,” said D’Aguilar.

For Bahamian citizens and residents, a negative test was not required for short trips of 72 hours or less outside The Bahamas; however, upon return, a 14-day quarantine was required.

“We’re trying to find the right formula, to strike that balance. It’s an ebb and flow, a very difficult nut to crack,” said D’Aguilar.

Commenting on the recent reinstatement of MP Travis Robinson as Parliamentary Secretary in the Minister of Tourism and Aviation, D’Aguilar said he welcomed the move.

The tourism minister said he has been “spread quite thin” in many instances given the number of responsibilities under his portfolio.

“I welcome the help. I desperately needed some assistance,” said D’Aguilar.

D’Aguilar said Robinson may be asked to focus on domestic tourism and efforts to ensure more young people pursue tertiary level tourism studies.