Multiple inter-island trips permitted during the span of valid travel health visa
No COVID-19 test required for return to the originating island
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The government’s latest emergency order has permitted temporary allowances for inter-island travel during the holiday season.
The Emergency Powers (COVID-19 Pandemic) Risk Management (No 4) Order, 2020 maintains countrywide guidelines on mask-wearing, social distancing and sanitizing, and for every person who leaves their residence to carry government-issued identification.
It outlines varying restrictions for the islands of The Bahamas and businesses, grouped under three schedules.
Every person traveling into and within The Bahamas is required to submit a negative COVID-19 test and obtain a travel health visa before arrival in the country or embarkation to another island.
The visa is valid for the same period of time as the validity of the RT-PCR COVID-19 test it was granted on.
Effective December 23 through January 4, the results of an RT-PCR test will be valid for seven days from the date the test was taken.
The five-day validation period for COVID tests will resume at 12am on January 5, 2021.
Where the travel health visa is still valid, any person traveling will be permitted to embark on multiple inter-island trips during the period of validity of that travel visa and will not be required to obtain a new test to return to the originating island.
No travel health visas are required to depart The Bahamas to a foreign jurisdiction.
A person traveling from any island except New Providence or Grand Bahama to another island shall not be required to undergo an RT-PCR COVID-19 test to obtain a health travel visa.
According to the orders, a person who enters The Bahamas and transits through New Providence to a Family Island within a period of fewer than 24 hours shall not be required to obtain a further travel visa.
Travel is prohibited to and from islands under lockdown, impending lockdowns and or 24-hour curfews, the order reads.
Except for Grand Bahama, which has a 10pm to 5am daily curfew, islands in the first schedule of the orders do not have a curfew.
The islands in the first schedule also include Acklins, Andros, the Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Chub Cay, Crooked Island, Elbow Cay, the Exuma cays, Inagua, Mayaguana, Grand Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Harbour Island, Long Cay, Long Island, Man-O-War Cay, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador and Spanish Wells.
A religious service between December 24 and January 3 will be exempt during the curfew hours.
Restaurants are permitted to utilize indoor and outdoor dining provided the maximum seating is 50 percent of maximum occupancy and seating is socially distanced.
The orders provide for social gatherings of no more than 20 people at a private residence or facility.
Beaches and parks on Grand Bahama can open between 5am and 8pm.
Beaches and parks on other islands in the first schedule remain open with health guidelines.
For islands in the second schedule — New Providence, Rose Island, Paradise Island and Abaco except for Green Turtle Cay, Grand Cay, Man-O-Way Cay and Elbow Cay — a curfew remains in place between 10pm and 5am daily.
A wide range of essential and retail businesses may open between 6am and 9pm Monday through Saturday.
Casino, bars, discos, cinemas, museums, libraries, historical societies, spas, gyms, straw market vendors, festivals, regattas and a range of other entertainment businesses and services remain prohibited.
Social gatherings remain prohibited on islands in the second schedule.
However, the orders exempt the period December 20 through January 3 for social gatherings of no more than 10 people at a private residence or facility.
All public and private beaches and parks are permitted to open, provided there are no more than five people in a group, and officers have been empowered to monitor the areas to ensure the order is being adhered to.
There is no curfew indicated for how the beaches and parks can remain open.