Welp, it’s official: The Bahamas has closed its borders to American tourists
If you’ve been dreaming of escaping to the Bahamas for some R&R, you’ll have to keep dreaming — for now, at least. Citing the spread of the novel coronavirus, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced on Sunday that the island country will begin blocking American tourists from visiting, CNN reports.
And if you’re thinking you have time to squeeze in a quick trip before the changes go into effect, think ahead. Beginning July 22 at midnight, the Bahamas will bar international commercial flights and commercial vessels carrying passengers from the U.S. due to COVID-19 concerns. Minnis noted during a nationally televised address that the Bahamas has confirmed 15 new cases for a total of 153 cases, 49 of which were identified since the Bahamas reopened its borders on July 1.
“Regrettably, the situation here at home has already deteriorated since we began the reopening of our domestic economy,” Minnis explained. “It has deteriorated at an exponential rate since we reopened our international borders. Our current situation demands decisive action, if we are to avoid being overrun and defeated by this virus. We cannot allow our hospitals to be overrun. Many priorities must be balanced, be they health, social, and economic. Chief amongst these though is the health. We cannot risk the death of Bahamians and our residents. We must be resolved in our collective willingness to save lives.”
For now, the Caribbean country still plans to allow visitors from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union — with one caveat. “All returning Bahamians, residents, and visitors by air or sea from overseas will require a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test result from an accredited lab. You will be required to present your documents to immigration officials upon arrival. These tests must be taken no later than 10 days before the date of travel,” Minnis said.
Just days before Minnis made his announcement, the always-popular Bahamian resort of Atlantis issued a statement revealing they were extending their closure amid growing concerns over the pandemic. The Nassau Guardian reports: “While we are excited and energized by the opportunity to welcome our guests with warm Bahamian hospitality,” said President and Managing Director Audrey Oswell, “we believe that extending our closure is in the best interest of public health at this time.”
Given that the U.S. is one of the resort’s primary markets, the decision makes sense. According to the CDC, there are now 3,761,362 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., with 63,201 of those being reported in the past 24 hours. The total deaths related to the virus are up to 140,157. Per Minnis, the Bahamas has confirmed 15 new cases for a total of 153 cases.
The Bahamas isn’t the only popular travel locale closing its doors (and borders) to American tourists. On June 30, the European Union released a list of 15 countries whose citizens will be able to visit once it officially reopens following a months-long coronavirus shutdown. Spoiler alert? The U.S. did not make the cut.
Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.