On July 19, The Bahamas announced a series of measures, including restrictions on international commercial flights while still allowing private international flights and pleasure yachts. However, over the past two weeks since then, their health officials have seen an exponential increase in the number of cases, an increase in hospitalizations, and unfortunately, an increase in the number of deaths. These instances pointed to the need for a national lockdown.
On August 3, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas Dr. Hubert Minnis announced that a national lockdown for the entire country would begin on Tuesday, August 4 at 10 p.m. and will be for a minimum of two weeks. Near the end of the lockdown, they will assess the health data and determine whether an extension is necessary, he said in his address. Grand Bahama is already on a two-week lockdown since July 23 — that will be reassessed on August 7 to determine whether an extension is necessary.
This address made no changes to the travel policies outlined in their most recent Emergency Powers Order on July 31, which states that any person entering The Bahamas by sea must:
• Obtain a health visa issued by The Bahamas government (For more info: travel.gov.bs/
• Receive a negative test result from a RTPCR COVID-19 molecular diagnostic test within 10 days before arrival
• Undergo mandatory quarantine at the traveler’s expense for 14 days upon arrival, along with not traveling to any other island before or during the commencement of quarantine
• Undergo another RTPCR test at the end of the period
To read the initial order and the July 31 amendment, visit: opm.gov.bs/emergency-powers-covid19-pandemicno-3order2020-pdf/
During the lockdown, essential services, such as food stores, pharmacies for curbside or take-away windows, and gas stations for external services only, will be available Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the general public and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. for essential workers. All businesses and offices will be required to suspend operations and have staff work remotely where possible, with exceptions including construction, hardware stores for curbside services, and essential commercial ports. For the complete list, read the prime minister’s national address: opm.gov.bs/national-address-3-august-2020.
Minnis also stated that Hurricane Isaias “turned out to be less destructive than we had prepared for.” While the weather did not permit flying over Grand Bahama, based on a fly over Andros, Bimini, and the Berry Islands, he said, “There did not appear to be much physical damage to structures.”