Grand Bahama Island ready to welcome visitors on October 15

Grand Bahama Island ready to welcome visitors on October 15

After a phased opening in July, the Government of The Bahamas closed the islands’ borders in response to a rise in COVID-19 cases, to bring the infection rate under control and protect the health of locals and visitors. 

Beginning October 15th, Grand Bahama Island will enter Phase 3 of The Bahamas’ Tourism Readiness & Recovery Plan, ahead of the busy holiday season.  Beaches and major hotels will reopen across the island, with a 14-day (or length of stay) “Vacation in Place” (VIP) for all guests through October 31st.  “Vacation in Place” (VIP) means that guests must remain on the hotel property, where all amenities, including hotel spas, gyms, bars and more will be accessible.  

On November 1st, The Bahamas will remove the mandatory “VIP” requirement for all visitors, returning citizens and residents, which will allow everyone to explore and enjoy the island.  Attractions, excursions and tours are also set to reopen on November 1st as part of the Phase 3 plan.

A variety of establishments on Grand Bahama Island are fully operational and eagerly awaiting visitors in order to display their special brand of island hospitality. 

A curfew is still in place from 10 PM to 5 AM, but social events such as Weddings and Receptions are now allowed both outdoors and indoors as long as they are in accordance with the guidelines and protocols set forth by the Ministry of Health.  This bodes well for guests who travel far and wide to the island that has a reputation for romantic escapes and destination weddings.

Throughout the lockdown period, the International Airport at Freeport, which is in the midst of a terminal expansion project, remained open and was fully operational, receiving cargo, private flights, emergency and humanitarian flights.  The airport is now accepting international flights such as Silver Airways out of Florida; American Airlines returned on October 8th.  Bahamasair has been in operation domestically, but they are yet to announce when they will resume international flights. 

The Ministry of Tourism continues to work closely with the Ministry of Health to establish and evaluate protocols and timelines with respect to the RT-PCR testing in advance of travel and curb any potential spread of the virus.

As a reminder, the Bahamian government’s new entry requirements for visitors, which came into effect on September 1st. 2020, include:

  • Negative COVID-19 PCR Test Results no more than seven days prior to travel to The Bahamas
  • Upon receipt of your COVID-19 test results, travelers must submit them at travel.gov.bs/international in order to receive a Bahamas Travel Health Visa, which will be issued shortly after the submission of test results
  • Valid Passport 
  • Bahamas Travel Health Visa – the cost will be determined by the length of stay
  • Mandatory “Vacation in Place” (VIP) – for 14 days or until November 1st – at a hotel, private club or rented accommodations (like Airbnb), as well as on a private boat.

The only applicants who are not required to provide a COVID-19 test are:

  • Children under the age of ten (10)
  • Pilots and crew who remain overnight in The Bahamas.

In addition to the above protocols, a rapid antigen test will be conducted upon arrival, and then again four days (96 hours) after arrival in The Bahamas. The rapid tests are quick and easy with the results being provided electronically in less than 20 minutes. All visitors who are leaving on “Day Five” of their visit will not be required to take the second test.  The cost of the rapid tests on and after arrival will be included in the cost of the visa.

All persons arriving by yachts or other pleasure crafts will be able to make arrangements for their mandatory rapid tests at the port of entry.

It is recommended that all travelers interested in visiting The Bahamas review requirements applicable to each member of their party before booking a trip, to determine what steps need to be taken to be granted entry.

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