Bahamas COVID Travel Guidelines For The Holiday Season
As the coronavirus pandemic continues and the Caribbean reports more COVID-19 cases, the Bahamas has recently released a new series of travel guidelines that travelers must follow in order to visit the country. While travel restrictions to the Bahamas have laxed significantly compared to the start of the year, those planning to visit by plane or by boat must follow strict Bahamas COVID travel guidelines released by the nation’s government just before holiday season. The guidelines published with the most recent Bahamas travel update are listed below.
Get Tested for COVID-19
Five days before your date of arrival, each traveler in your vessel must get a RT PCR nasal swab COVID-19 test. You must get a nasal molecular swab test. Negative test results from any other type of COVID-19 test are not accepted. Each yacht guest and crew member must receive a negative test result with the test sample taken no more than five days prior to arriving in the Bahamas. Children under the age of 10 are exempt from getting tested.
Fill Out Travel Health Visa Application
Before traveling to the Bahamas, each traveler must submit a Travel Health Visa application along with evidence of their negative COVID test results. To submit an application, go to travel.gov.bs and select “International.” Either create an account or log in if you already have one. Then, fill out all your information, upload your negative test results, and submit. It can take up to 72 hours for application to process. Each traveler will receive a confirmation of their application’s approval. This confirmation document and a copy of negative COVID test results will be presented to officials when entering the country.
Give Copies to Port of Entry
Those traveling to the Bahamas on a yacht must stop at the port of entry of their intended destination. All ports of entry in the Out Islands, also called the Family Islands, are closed with the exception of public docks. Each traveler then needs to provide copies of their Travel Health Visa and their negative RT PCR test results to officials at the port of entry before docking and stepping on land.
Sign Up for Mandatory COVID-18 Health Insurance
Starting in November, visitors are now required to opt-in for mandatory COVID-19 health insurance when applying for their Travel Health Visa. This health insurance will cover travelers’ healthcare throughout their stay in the Bahamas including the Day 5 Rapid Antigen Test they are required to take. Visitors staying no more than four day will pay $40, while visitors staying more than four days will pay $60. Coverage includes medical expenses incurred due to COVID-19 ($50,000 USD max), quarantine or isolation expenses due to COVID-19 ($7,000 USD max), and medical evacuation costs due to COVID-19 ($50,000 max).
Take a Rapid Antigen Test on 5th Day of Visit
Another recently introduced Bahamas COVID travel requirement is the mandatory day five COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test. All travelers staying in The Bahamas for more than four night and five days are required to take a rapid COVID-19 antigen test five days after their arrival date. Visitors are required to quarantine on their boats or report accommodations until they receive their test results which are typically texted or emailed to them within 60 minutes. Yacht owners and crew who are not coming on land anytime during their trip to The Bahamas are exempt from this rapid antigen test.
Take a Daily Online Health Survey
Another guideline introduced in the recent Bahamas travel update is that travelers are required to answer a daily online health questionnaire during the duration of their visit. This daily health survey is designed for symptom tracking purposes. Any visitor who exhibits COVID symptoms upon their arrival or during their stay will be required to take a rapid antigen test. A negative result will allow them to resume their vacation, while a positive result will need to be followed up with a COVID-19 RT-PCR swab test.
Pay Attention to On-Island Rules and Regulations
Once you have arrived at The Bahamas, be sure to closely follow all COVID-19 safety and prevention protocols enforced by island authorities. Wearing a face mask is mandatory in all public spaces except beaches and enforced. Social distancing is also mandatory in public spaces as well as beaches. Be mindful of local curfews as well. Different islands enforce different curfew times. Failure to follow these protocols and curfews can result in fines and other serious consequences.
Travel restrictions to The Bahamas have thankfully become less severe in recent months. To ensure borders stay open throughout the holiday season, take COVID-19 prevention seriously. Follow the guidelines listed above and follow local protocols once you’ve arrived at this wonder country. While you are enjoying the tropical paradise of the islands, you can also do your part to keep yourself and Bahamians safe.
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