Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation Statement on Updated COVID-19 Measures
NASSAU, Bahamas, September 25, 2020 – As citizens, residents and visitors throughout The Bahamas continue to practice crucial health and safety measures, such as proper hand washing and sanitization, physical distancing and the mandatory use of face masks, and also abide by protocols and guidelines issued through the country’s Emergency Orders, a large number of islands in The Bahamas have successfully flattened the COVID-19 curve.
The Government of The Bahamas announced on Wednesday that, as long as physical distancing and mask wearing protocols remain in place, a majority of the country’s islands and cays are now cleared to resume normal commercial and additional social activities. For example, shops and restaurants can offer inside and outdoor services between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 p.m., all beaches and parks are open, and social gatherings of no more than 20 people are permitted. This approval is specific to Grand Bahama Island, as well as Andros, Acklins, Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Chub Cay, Crooked Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Harbour Island, Inagua, Long Cay, Long Island, Mayaguana, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador and Spanish Wells.
The mandatory 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily curfew has also been lifted on all of these islands, with the exception of Grand Bahama Island where Health Officials have recommended the continuation of the curfew. For the time being, beaches on Grand Bahama Island will also operate with reduced hours, opening daily from 5 a.m. – 12 p.m.
New Providence and Abaco:
Due to current indicators being tracked by health officials, New Providence, which includes Nassau & Paradise Island, as well as Abaco will remain under current Emergency Power Orders as follows:
- A mandatory curfew is in place from 10 p.m. – 5 a.m. daily. No person is permitted to leave their homes or accommodations during this period, except to seek urgent medical care at a hospital.
- Commercial banks and credit unions may open Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- Public and private buses, as well as taxis, are allowed to operate at 50% occupancy. Total passenger capacity to be posted via signage on each vehicle.
- Residents are permitted to exercise outdoors in neighborhoods from 5 a.m. – 10 p.m. Outdoor group exercise is permitted from 5 a.m. – 12 p.m.
- Beauty salons and barbershops may open to accommodate one patron per service provider at a time.
There are a few areas in which measures differ on New Providence and Abaco including:
- Beaches and parks on New Providence will be open daily within the limited hours of 5 a.m. – 12 p.m., while on Abaco they are open from 5 a.m. – 10 p.m.
o A face mask must be worn upon entering and exiting the beach area, and gatherings are limited to groups of five people.
- Essential businesses on New Providence including grocery stores, pharmacies, water depots, gas stations and hardware stores are permitted to operate daily between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. All businesses on Abaco, with the exception of high-risk businesses, such as casinos, bars and cinemas, will be able to operate daily between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 p.m., subject to safety protocols.
- Restaurants on New Providence may operate daily from 5 a.m. – 9 p.m. and provide outdoor dining, curbside, takeaway and delivery service. Restaurants on Abaco may operate daily from 5 a.m. – 10 p.m. and provide indoor and outdoor dining services, provided they follow the physical distancing, mask wearing and sanitation protocols
To note, Fish Fry restaurants can offer curbside and takeaway on New Providence.
- Retail businesses on New Providence are permitted to offer curbside and delivery service, and retail stores selling clothing, jewelry, shoes or fabric can operate Monday through Saturday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Retailers on Abaco are permitted to offer in-store services between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m., subject to safety protocols.
Please visit opm.gov.bs for full details related to commercial and social activities allowed under the latest Emergency Order.
Implications for Travellers:
The Bahamas is moving towards the continued recovery and reopening of the country’s tourism industry while ensuring the health and wellbeing of citizens, residents and visitors of The Bahamas remain paramount. International travellers are currently welcome in The Bahamas, however, they are required to adhere to all protocols and restrictions.
Requirements for entering The Bahamas include:
- An application for a Travel Health Visa, which includes a general health screening and request for contact information, must be completed by selecting the International option at travel.bs.gov. This is a crucial step for contact tracing purposes.
- All incoming visitors, as well as returning citizens and residents, must show proof of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test, taken no more than five (5) days prior to the date of arrival. All test results must be uploaded when applying for a Travel Health Visa.
o The only applicants who are not required to provide a COVID-19 test are:
- Children under the age of ten (10)
- Pilots and crew who remain overnight in The Bahamas.
- All visitors and returning residents are required to “Vacation in Place” (VIP) for 14 days or the length of their stay, whichever is shorter.
- Travellers are permitted to Vacation in Place at a hotel, private club or rented accommodations (like Airbnb), as well as on a private boat.
- Pilots and crew who remain overnight in The Bahamas must remain at their hotel property until returning to the airport for their next flight, and are not required to stay in the country for 14 days.
- Hotel guests are permitted to access all available amenities on property during the Vacation in Place period.
- All persons must submit to monitoring and install the Hubbcat app on their cellular phones for purposes of contact tracing. Visitors should download the app prior to travel in order to expedite their arrival process.
- After the 14 days, all persons intending to remain in the country may be required to complete another COVID-19 test, at their own expense, to exit Vacation in Place.
Full details on entry protocols and the forward-looking recovery and reopening plan for The Islands of The Bahamas can be found on Bahamas.com/travelupdates.
The Bahamas has remained diligent in efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19 throughout the islands, and these measures are imperative to ensure that remains the case. Due to fluidity of the COVID-19 situation, both in The Bahamas and worldwide, protocols are subject to change. The health and wellbeing of both residents and visitors remain the number one priority, and public health officials are closely monitoring indicators to determine whether more or less stringent measures will be required going forward.
General Manager, Global Communications
Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation