Negative COVID test still required to enter The Bahamas
Free test for departing US visitors to be included in travel health visa program
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Tourism, Investments and Aviation Minister Chester Cooper said yesterday that the day-five COVID-19 testing requirement for visitors will be eliminated.
Cooper told reporters yesterday: “Effectively what is going to happen once it is gazetted, effective immediately, what we knew as the day-five test will be eliminated.
“For the avoidance of doubt, you still require a test to enter The Bahamas.
“What we are going to offer to our guests is a free rapid test for their outgoing travel. Persons require a rapid test to enter the US. Rather than having the post-travel five days’ test, we will offer that as a part of the travel health visa program.
“In summary, we are eliminating the post-travel test once you arrive in The Bahamas.”
Cooper noted that while tourism stakeholders are calling for a relaxation of COVID restrictions, the government must strike a balance between being competitive in the tourism sector while also protecting the health and safety of the Bahamian people.
“We have done well so far. Every time there is a change, we have pivoted,” said Cooper.
“We hope to be at the end of the pandemic soon. We’re not there yet. We want to keep our infrastructure in place so that in the event there is [another] wave, we are able to respond very quickly.
“We have recommendations from our stakeholders in the sector to further relax protocols and, suffice to say, we are looking at them.”
Cooper noted that the removal of the mask mandate is one of those requirements.
“We see that that is the direction that some countries are moving in. Some countries have declared that the pandemic is over,” said Cooper.
“We want to ensure that we get it right as much as possible and therefore we are being deliberate in our approach.
“Suffice to say, many of the people who are saying ‘eliminate the masks’ also want us to have a low CDC rating. Sometimes you can’t have both. Our job as policymakers is to ensure we strike the right balance.”