The Bahamas Updates Testing Protocols for Travel From November 1

Nassau Bahamas
Photo by Sharan Singh/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

While October 15 is still set for the reopening of the Bahamas’ tourism sector, until October 31 all incoming visitors must “Vacation in Place” for 14 days or the duration of stay, whichever is shorter, which means limiting the vacation experience to the grounds and amenities of a traveler’s hotel or accommodations. Beginning November 1, the Bahamas will remove the mandatory “Vacation in Place” requirement for all visitors, returning citizens and residents thereby, enabling everyone to move about and explore the destination beyond the confines of their hotel or other accommodations. 

The new protocols will require visitors and returning citizens and residents to obtain a RT-PCR (swab) test no more than seven days prior to their travel to the Bahamas. In addition, and to ensure that travelers remain COVID-free, a rapid antigen test will be conducted upon arrival, and then again four days after arrival in the Bahamas.

Specifics are as follows:

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Prior to Travel: All persons traveling to the Bahamas must obtain a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR (swab) test taken no more than seven days prior to the date of arrival. The name and address of the lab, where the test was performed, must be clearly displayed on the test result.  Children under the age of 10 and pilots and crew of commercial airlines, who remain overnight in the Bahamas, are exempt from obtaining the RT-PCR test.

Once in possession of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test, all travelers will then be required to apply for a Bahamas Health Travel Visa a travel.gov.bs, where the required test must be uploaded. The cost of the visa will depend on the length of stay. 

Upon Arrival: All persons entering the Bahamas, at an approved port of entry, will receive a Rapid COVID-19 antigen test. If arriving by air, an approved port of entry will be: Nassau,  Freeport, Marsh Harbour, North Eleuthera, Georgetown (Exuma), Bimini (and Cat Cay)and San Andros (Andros). If arriving by sea, an approved port of entry will be: Nassau (Atlantis, Bay Street Marina, Lyford Cay and Albany); Grand Bahama (West End – Old Bahama Bay and Freeport – Lucaya); Abaco (Marsh Harbour Government Dock); Eleuthera (Spanish Wells Marina); Berry Islands (Chubb Cay Club); Bimini (Big Game Club and Cat Cay Club); Exuma (Georgetown Government Dock).

American Airlines has indicated that, beginning in late October, they wish to provide each passenger traveling to the Bahamas from Miami with a Rapid COVID-19 antigen test before boarding the plane. These passengers, along with the passengers of any other airlines wishing to provide a similar service, will not be required to complete the Rapid Test upon arrival in the Bahamas. 

After Arrival: All persons who entered the Bahamas, and who are staying longer than four nights and five days, will be required to take a second Rapid COVID-19 antigen test. Visitors departing on Day Five will not be required to obtain this test. 

The cost of the rapid tests on and after arrival will be included in the cost of the visa. The rapid tests are easy, quick and will yield results in 20 minutes or less with results being provided electronically. 

Many hotel properties will provide relevant information on testing arrangements, while others will facilitate the required rapid test for their guests. All persons on yachts and other pleasure craft will be able to make arrangements for their required rapid tests at the port of entry or via the relevant website. All other visitors, returning residents and citizens will be able to make arrangements for their required rapid tests at the port of entry or via the relevant website.

The On-Island Experience: All islands in the Bahamas require the wearing of masks and appropriate social distancing in public places.

The Bahamas has remained diligent in its efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19 throughout the islands, and these measures are imperative to ensure that remains the case. The health and wellbeing of both residents and visitors remain the number-one priority of public health officials. It is important to note, however, that due to fluidity of the COVID-19 situation, both in the Bahamas and worldwide, protocols are subject to change.

This article has originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.

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