WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Following the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in the U.S, the Bahamas is to close its borders for American tourists effective Wednesday at midnight.
- While Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis acknowledges the importance of tourism to the country, he emphasizes that health should be given priority.
- Many Caribbean countries will still welcome American tourists, with Barbados even offering 12 months stay for visitors.
Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Americans will not be allowed entry for now in the Bahamas.
Starting midnight of Wednesday, visitors from the U.S. will no longer be welcomed in the vacation country, as announced by Bahamian Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis during his address to the Nation on Sunday.
Dr Minnis said they need to act fast on the current pandemic situation, adding the medical facilities should not be overwhelmed by the virus. The prime minister also acknowledges that health must be the prioritized over social, and economic concerns while noting that these are all important.
It was only three weeks ago when the Bahamas is still welcoming tourists from the U.S. The country, however, shifted its decision following the move by Canada, Mexico, and European Union to massively ban Americans due to the rapid rise of infections the U.S.
Minnis’ pronouncement also confirmed that tourists from the United Kingdom, Canada, and European Union countries will still be accepted. The only condition they as long as they were initially tested and awaiting the negative result from an authorized lab from the country they originated from, for at least ten days period at their arrival.
Before the country seals its borders, Minnis also confirmed that the Bahama’s flagship airline Bahamasair will cease its U.S route immediately. Affected Americans, though, will have to take commercial flights to return to the U.S.
Tourism fuels the economy of the Bahamas, and a large portion of this are from American Dollars. But for the Bahamians, the health of the general population is more critical.
The country has now a total of 153 coronavirus cases, and 49 of this was recorded since it opened on July 1.
The Bahamas was always a go-to vacation spot by many American tourists, mainly due to its weather and distance from the United States. But the same advantage is now considered a risk since the U.S’ new virus epicenter is Florida, only with just 50 miles away from the Bahamas.
Likewise, the European Union also barred U.S. tourists since July 1. Its 27-member union evaluates travel measures every 14 days.
Meanwhile, other Caribbean countries are open to American tourists. Nations such as Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Aruba, Cuba, Antigua, Barbuda, Grenada, Jamaica, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are some of the choices for American vacationers.
While the Bahamas will be closed to Americans at the moment, Barbados is pursuing visitors to stay at the country up to a maximum of 12 months.