Marsh Harbour Airport. Photo: Wiki Commons

MIAMI – The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation jumped into Phase 2 of its Tourism Readiness and Recovery plan last week. As of July 1st, the nation of islands was re-opened to international airline flights.

As a precaution due to the sharp increase in cases in the United States, all visitors must submit a COVID-19 RT-PCR negative (swab) test upon arrival.

The test, after July 7, must be no more than 7 days old and persons exempt include children under the age of two, children between ages three and ten (provided their nation of origin doesn’t provide these tests), and private pilots who do not de-plane.

Beach in Nassau, Bahamas | Photo: ©PhotoDawg via Wikipedia Commons

First Routes to the Bahamas

  • Southwest resumed daily service between Baltimore and Nassau on July 1st
  • JetBlue resumed daily service between New York (JFK) and Nassau, as well as Fort Lauderdale and Nassau on July 2nd
  • Delta resumed its twice daily Atlanta to Nassau service July 2nd
  • United Airlines announced its daily Houston to Nassau and Newark to Nassau service resumes today, while Saturday-only Denver to Nassau service will resume on July 11th
  • American Airlines will resume daily flights between Charlotte and Nassau; Miami and Exuma; Miami and Eleuthera and twice daily flights between Miami and Nassau on July 7th
  • Air Canada resumed flights from Toronto on July 3rd
JetBlue Airbus A321 accelerating on a runway. | Photo: © Vincenzo Pace (IG: @jfkjetsofficial)

Bahamian Precautions

Before travelling, passengers on each flight must complete an electronic health visa prior to departure. Everyone must complete a form with their test results and contact information for tracing purposes.

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.

Temperature checks will be carried out for incoming passengers and those who show symptoms of COVID-19 may be transferred away from other passengers. In the Bahamas, new fines and penalties will be given to people who ignore rules surrounding mask-wearing and physical distancing.

Similar Temperature Checks at Laoag International Airport. | Photo: © Fredrick Guinto via Wikipedia Commons

Tourism in the Bahamas

Tourism is a vital part of the Bahamian economy making up approximately 60% of the country’s GDP. 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.

Bahamas Gazebo. | Photo: © Bryce Edwards via Wikipedia Commons

The Bahamas requests that all visitors pack their own personal protective equipment “just as they would swimsuits and sunscreen”. Everyone in the Bahamas is recommended to sanitize frequently and use precautions to keep both locals and vacationers safe.

The islands have already been open to yachters, international boaters, and those traveling with their own airplanes. If successful with their re-opening, the Bahamas will be a great example of safe international pandemic travel.