The Bahamas will open for travel on July 1. This comes months after its border was closed due to COVID-19.
If you plan on travelling to the archipelagic nation, there are a few things you need to know before buying your airline ticket.
Firstly, make sure you get tested before travelling. All travelers entering The Bahamas must have a negative PCR COVID-19 test and completed health forms. The test must be taken within a window up to 10 days before travel to The Bahamas.
If you are travelling with family members, each one of them will have to be tested and have negative results prior to travelling. You must bring proof of your health status, as you will be required to present them at the airport.
Each person must also have a valid passport.
Sun, Sand & Sea
Beaches and parks in New Providence, Paradise Island, Grand Bahama and Bimini will reopen on June 29. However, gatherings of more than five people are not allowed.
So, if you are travelling with a large group, you will have to separate into groups while at the beach.
Where To Stay
The Atlantis Paradise Island resort will reopen on July 7 and is already taking reservations. Many of its facilities, including in-restaurant dining and water sports activities will be available to guests.
Sandals will also reopen its Royal Bahamian and Emerald Bay properties on July 1.
Breezes, located in Cable Beach, will also reopen on July 1.
However, Baha Mar and Melia, which are also located in Cable Beach, will not reopen until October.
The Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism has rolled out an extensive list of protocols for hotels, restaurants and vendors in the tourism industry to follow to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Government of The Bahamas has also implemented severe fines for establishments that do not follow the law.
Public and private bus services will resume operations, but will not be permitted to transport their usual load. They are mandated to cut passenger capacity by 50 percent.
Buses and taxis will require customers to wear a mask before entering the vehicle and due to social distancing guidelines, customers will not be permitted to sit in the passenger seat. This is important to know if travelling with a large group.
Restaurants throughout the country will offer indoor dining but customers will be required to wear a mask unless eating and they will also have to follow physical distancing guidelines. Restaurants will offer seating capacity based on 50 percent occupancy (30 sq. ft per person).
However, these rules do not apply to Arawak Cay (Fish Fry) establishments. Only outdoor seating is allowed at Arawak Cay.
Gyms and spas will reopen with health and safety protocols in place.
No Cruises Until September
If you were hoping to sail to The Bahamas on a cruise, that will have to wait.
Even though The Bahamas will be open for travel, the cruise line industry recently announced that it will push its sail dates to The Bahamas back to September 15.
Consider The Family Islands
For those travelers who are serious about social distancing and want to avoid the crowds altogether, they may want to consider traveling to one of the Family Islands of The Bahamas.
While Hurricane Dorian ravaged parts of Abaco and Grand Bahama last August, many islands are still open for business, including Eleuthera, Exuma (Sandals will be opening on July 1), Long Island, Cat Island, Harbour Island, Acklins or Inagua, to name a few.
Last year, I wrote an article about some of the many islands The Bahamas has to offer.
Many residents on those islands offer Airbnbs that can accommodate large groups.
Be sure to visit the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s website for information and deals.
You may also visit Airbnb to reserve accommodations. Be sure to review its cancellation policies.