Update August 4, 2020
Is the Bahamas open or closed? Today (and apparently for the next two weeks) it’s closed. Not just to tourists… Completely shut down. Businesses closed and grocery stores open two days a week in order to regain control of what they’re calling a “major spike” in Covid-19 cases.
Is the Bahamas open or closed to US travelers? It seems like such a simple question to answer. Yet only a few days after the Bahamas closed its borders to US travelers and unceremoniously sent those who were there home early, the Bahamian government shifted it’s policies once again. No matter the reasons or the policies, trying to keep up with the changes has become like trying seeing a large number of arrows pointing in different directions when all you want is to find the way from point A to B.
Most likely the decision for the Bahamas opening back up to US tourists has a lot to do with the economy. Whatever the reason, the confusion about traveling continues with the latest change in policy. A week after the emergency order announced by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, closing the borders to US tourists, Attorney General Carl Bethel made the decision to create a standard policy for visitors to the islands in order to avoid excluding visitors from some countries, notably the United States.
The question remains, is the Bahamas open or closed for US tourists? As of today the answer is “technically open” but like other destinations both foreign and domestic, whether tourists are really welcome is a different question. Under the new policy there is no longer a requirement to complete an online health screening form or present pre-travel Covid test results, however visitors must quarantine at government facilities for… Fourteen (14!) days.
The fourteen day quarantine makes “technically open” seem like a fair answer to the question. The appeal of the Bahamas for many American tourists, beyond the obvious (hello, clear water and nice beaches!) is the ability to easily get away for a long weekend without spending hours to get there. If the aim of the Bahamian government is to jump start tourism, they were closer with health screenings, test results, and temperature checks which were all a hassle but doable for quick getaways. If I’m going away for three weeks (two weeks quarantine plus a vacation), the Bahamas is not on my short list of destinations.