With most international travel off-limits to Americans, the Caribbean has been a rare bright spot with several islands ready and willing to welcome travelers from the U.S. That includes the Bahamas, which resumed international travel July 1 with a fairly lax testing requirement.
But not for long. The Bahamas will close all of its airports and seaports to American travelers as of Wednesday, July 22, the Miami Herald reports. Only private flights and international charters will be allowed. The government has already shut down flights to the U.S. on its national airline, Bahamasair.
That closure comes as cases have skyrocketed in the U.S. in the last several weeks – and the Bahamas have recorded an uptick in cases, too. After curbing the spread of coronavirus to roughly 100 cases total before reopening travel in July, the islands have seen another 50 cases in the last three weeks alone.
“Regrettably, the situation here at home has already deteriorated since we began the reopening of our domestic economy,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said. “Our current situation demands decisive action, if we are to avoid being overrun and defeated by this virus.”
While American travelers are once again shut out, tourists from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union will still be allowed to visit the Bahamas. Bahamian officials gave no inidication of when travel from the U.S. may be allowed to resume.
Home to lush beaches and massive resorts like Atlantis, tourism is essential to the Bahamas – especially travelers from the U.S. That’s why on July 1, its government reopened its borders with a fairly lenient testing requirement.
Travelers arriving from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., or Europe could get in by providing a negative PCR test result taken within 10 days of arrival. That’s a much wider timeframe than the 48- to 72-hour window many countries across the world are requiring.
That didn’t last long. After a few weeks of resuming travel between the U.S. and the Bahamas, the Bahamas are shutting American travelers out one again.
Will other Caribbean nations follow suit?