By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
IN preparation for the country’s full tourism re-opening on July 1, the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation is reminding residents and visitors to ensure that they complete the necessary protocols in order to gain entry into the country.
These include presenting a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival “no older than 10 days” and completing an electronic health visa.
“Select individuals will be exempt from testing, which includes children under the age of two, private pilots who do not deplane, and Bahamian citizens, residents and homeowners returning from English speaking CARICOM countries,” officials said in a statement.
“No quarantine will be required upon arrival, however, travellers who show symptoms of COVID-19 may be transferred to an area away from other passengers for further testing and evaluation.
Meanwhile, as it relates to inter-island travel, the ministry said travellers must complete an electronic domestic travel form at travel.gov.bs before departure.
“An automated response will be provided upon completion. All travellers must have their confirmation on hand upon arrival to their destination. This is a crucial step for contact tracing purposes,” the statement added.
In an effort to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, officials said there will also be a number of new guidelines tourists will have to follow when permitted in the country.
For example, “at airports and seaports, healthcare personnel will conduct temperature screenings for all incoming visitors.”
“Travellers will be required to wear a face mask in any situation where it is necessary to enforce physical distancing guidelines, such as when entering and transiting air and sea terminals, while navigating security and customs screenings, and at baggage claim.”
Once on island, travellers will also be expected to follow country’s “Healthy Traveler Campaign” – an initiative meant to encourages visitors and residents alike to continue following the social distancing measures and health protocols implemented in the fight against COVID-19.
“…This July 1 tourism re-entry builds on and supports existing government rules and regulations, which already allows for the resumption of travel for international boaters, yachters and those traveling on private aviation as well as inter-island domestic travel for Bahamian citizens and residents ... Reopening of borders will continue to be monitored and guided by the Bahamas government and health officials. Reopening dates are subject to change based on COVID-19 trends, if there is a deterioration in improvement or if government and health organisations deem these phases unsafe for residents or visitors.”
For more information on the country’s Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan, people are asked to visit www.bahamas.com/travelupdates.