Banned! Amid COVID spike, The Bahamas restricts all American travel

Prime Minister of The Bahamas Dr Hubert Minnis (Photo: Facebook @OPMBS)

Prime Minister of the Bahamas Dr Hubert Minnis has declared that travellers from the United States will not be allowed into the country, come Wednesday (July 22).

Minnis, in an address to the Bahamian people on Sunday, said the decision comes as the commonwealth confirmed 15 new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the national total to 153.

It’s a stark contrast to the 104 confirmed cases the Bahamas had when it decided to reopen its international borders earlier this month, with the 49 new infections recorded since leading to a reversal of the Minnis administration’s mandate.

“Regrettably, the situation here at home has already deteriorated since we began the reopening of our domestic economy. It has deteriorated at an exponential rate since we reopened our international borders,” he explained.

The Bahamian leader further noted that while the outbreak has only affected the country’s more populated areas, the national battle with COVID-19 will last for some time and now is not the time to drop its guard.

“Like other nations that responded well at the outset to the pandemic, The Bahamas is working through that same balancing act. Our current situation demands decisive active if we are to avoid being overrun and defeated by this virus,” Minnis continued.

To this end, international commercial flights will not be permitted to enter, except for flights from the UK, European Union and Canada, effective midnight, Wednesday.

The national carrier, Bahamasair, will cease its outgoing flights to the US, effective immediately. Outgoing commercial vessels and flights will be still allowed to depart The Bahamas, except Grand Bahama

Additionally, private aviation as well as pleasure craft and yachts are still permitted to enter and depart the Bahamas.

A new daily curfew will take effect on Grand Bahama from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am.

Effective Wednesday, the island will see no international or domestic flights or sea vessels in or out, except for emergency and essential purposes.

Indoor dining across restaurants is again prohibited (outdoor dining, curbside, takeaway and delivery allowed); all beaches and parks will be closed, and all congregate activities banned (national exams not included).