PHASE TWO: Electronic health visa, children under two exempt from testing

PHASE TWO: Electronic health visa, children under two exempt from testing
FILE PHOTO

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation yesterday released its plan for the reopening of the country’s borders to commercial air traffic on July 1.

The ministry noted all travelers will be required to complete an electronic health visa with further details to be provided at a later date.

All incoming visitors must present a COVID-19 RT-PCR Negative (Swab) Test upon arrival; however, children under the age of two, private pilots who do not deplane, and Bahamian citizens, residents and homeowners returning from English speaking CARICOM countries will be exempt.

Those results must be no more than 10 days old.

The country reopened to international boaters, yachters and private aviation on June 15.

“No quarantine will be required upon arrival, however, travelers who show symptoms of COVID-19 may be transferred to an area away from other passengers for further testing and evaluation,” the statement read.

“All inter-island travelers must complete an electronic Domestic Travel form at travel.gov.bs prior to departure and for any inter-island travel within The Bahamas. An automated response will be provided upon completion.

“All travelers must have their confirmation on hand upon arrival to their destination. This is a crucial step for contact tracing purposes.

The statement continued: “At airports and seaports, healthcare personnel will conduct temperature screenings for all incoming visitors. Travelers will be required to wear a face mask in any situation where it is necessary to enforce physical distancing guidelines, such as when entering and transiting air and sea terminals, while navigating security and customs screenings, and at baggage claim.”

As part of Phase 2, hotels and vacation rentals, including Airbnb and HomeAway will open to guests.

According to the statement, Delta Airlines will be resuming its twice daily Atlanta to Nassau service on July 2; United Airlines announced its daily Houston to Nassau service will resume on July 6 and the Saturday-only Denver to Nassau service will resume on July 11; American Airlines will resume flights to Nassau and Exuma on July 7; and Air Canada is scheduled to resume flights from Toronto to Nassau on July 3.

The statement read: “Travelers should expect to follow The Bahamas’ “Healthy Traveler Campaign” that encourages both visitors and residents to continue practicing social distancing measures, regularly wash hands or use hand sanitizers, and pack appropriate PPE such as face masks, just as they would their swimsuits and sunscreen.

“A Certification Agency has been established – representing a collaboration between the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Health, and other regulatory agencies – to enforce a Clean & Pristine certification program across the islands.”

It read: “All tourism related, customer-facing entities in The Bahamas must verify they have in place and are adhering to the Government approved health and safety guidelines to receive Clean & Pristine certification. Adequate signage outlining policies will be clearly displayed at all locations helping to guide staff and visitors.”

“Travelers are encouraged to visit direct business websites prior to booking or traveling to ensure they are aware and comfortable with the policies they will need to abide by. Additional details about on-island protocols can be found at www.bahamas.com/travelupdates.”

Reopening of borders will continue to be monitored and guided by The Bahamas government and health officials. Reopening dates are subject to change based on COVID-19 trends, if there is a deterioration in improvement or if government and health organizations deem these phases unsafe for residents or visitors.

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation believes it is an absolute baseline requirement for consumers to have a comfort level that The Bahamas is a safe and healthy destination to visit, and the ultimate goal is for that to remain the case.

For more information, or to view the Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan, please visit: www.bahamas.com/travelupdates. All COVID-19 inquiries should be directed to the Ministry of Health via hotline: 242-376-9350 (8am – 8pm EDT) / 242-376-9387 (8pm – 8am EDT).