Tourism officials in the Bahamas just announced a two-phase plan to reopen the islands to international travel. In Phase 1, recreational boats can return starting June 15; in Phase 2, the islands will be open to international air and ship travel starting July 1.
Dionisio D’Aguilar, the Bahamas Tourism Minister, said that Phase 1 “is expected to see the opening of the tourism sector with the return of boaters, yachters, and private aviation being allowed to enter the destination. We are starting with these smaller special interest groups as they provide a more controlled segment. They all will pre-register electronically, allowing health officials to determine their risk level.”
D’Aguilar also said that starting June 15 hotels will reopen for guests “who are citizens of the Bahamas and the small group of anticipated visitors expecting to transit from private craft to boats and who may wish to stay in a hotel for one or two nights.”
The government will monitor COVID-19 trends after the Phase 1 reopening, and says the Phase 2 date is subject to change if the situation deteriorates. But the planned start of Phase 2 on July 1 allows for the reopening of travel on international and domestic airlines, and the reopening of hotels and vacation rentals. Travelers will receive temperature screenings, and they must wear face masks in crowded areas, including entering the air and sea terminals, going through security and customs counters, and in baggage claim. They also must wash their hands or use hand sanitizers and maintain a social distance of at least six from other people when possible.
For their part, recreational boaters must complete a Maritime Declaration of Health and they must inform a marina at least 48 hours before their arrival. They must wear a face mask on the marina’s premises and practice social distancing.
Marina personnel must wear masks and gloves at all times, changing them twice a day. Fuel attendants must wear masks, gloves, hats and glasses; they may hand customers the fuel nozzle, but they must remain on shore. The customers remain on the boat.
Under the protocols, boats are required to remain 50 feet apart. Raft-ups are prohibited. Read more: