The Bahamas will reopen its borders to international travel starting July 1, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation announced on Wednesday. The country, which has been essentially locked down since March 24, will reopen in a few phases.
The process will start on June 15, when it begins to welcome boaters, yachters, and private aviation to return to the Bahamas, which it says will “allow a more controlled segments to test the country’s new measures.”
During that same time, Bahamas citizens, or those with immediate family members, will be able to return to the Bahamas, though all returning people will have to register with a Bahamas embassy and obtain a negative COVID-19 test.
Then, on July 1, both international and domestic travel will be allowed to resume. Hotels and vacation rentals, and all local transportation including taxis and buses, will also be allowed to resume.
Even with the news, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation Director-General Joy Jibrilu said in a statement that the top priority for the area is still the “health and well-being of our residents and visitors.”
"We must remember that we are living in a new normal in the wake of COVID-19 and a lot is going to change across the tourism sector.”
The “new normal” for the Bahamas will include a number of changes to its hospitality and transportation services such as enhanced cleaning of hotels and resorts; employee health monitoring of employees across the sector; restrictions on gatherings of people including in vehicles, in elevators, and on tour buses; and more.
The Bahamas will also restrict buffets at its properties “until further notice” and guests at resorts will be encouraged to purchase, instead of rent, personal gear such as snorkeling equipment.
The opening is still subject to change, the Ministry said.
Airlines will also begin flying from the U.S. and Canada into some of the Bahamas’ territories starting in July, though a lot haven’t opened up all their availability yet. Both Southwest and American will have flights into Nassau in July.