Less than three weeks after reopening, the Bahamas is re-closing its borders to U.S. tourists starting July 22 due to an increase of COVID-19 cases.
International commercial flights and commercial vessels carrying passengers will not be permitted to enter the Bahamas, except for commercial flights from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis made a national address saying, “Regrettably, the situation here at home has already deteriorated since we began the reopening of our domestic economy. It has deteriorated at an exponential rate since we reopened our international borders.”
He reported that as of July 19, the Ministry of Health confirmed 15 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 153.
“Since opening borders to international travel on July 1, The Bahamas has unfortunately experienced a deterioration in conditions relative to COVID-19. These restrictions have been put in place to protect the health and wellbeing of both residents and visitors, which remains of primary importance, and to prevent the spread of the virus throughout The Bahamas,” said Minnis. “The Bahamas is reviewing and being guided by the most effective practices from around the world. Reopening of borders will continue to be monitored and guided by The Bahamas government and health officials, based on COVID-19 trends.”
In other news, Atlantis Paradise Island, on Paradise Island in The Bahamas, is extending its closure. The resort reports that this extension comes as the growing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases cross the resort’s key U.S. markets continues to rise.
Atlantis is tracking new information daily and will share reopening updates on its website and through its social media channels.
“We have made the difficult decision to extend Atlantis’ closure, prioritizing the health and safety of our team, our guests, and our community first. While we are excited and energized by the opportunity to welcome our guests with warm Bahamian hospitality, we believe that extending our closure is in the best interest of public health at this time,” said Audrey Oswell, President and Managing Director of Atlantis, in a statement.
The resort announced its partnership with the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic and launched the Atlantis Clean & Safe Promise to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of resort guests and Atlantis team members. The Atlantis Clean & Safe Promise will ensure the resort’s cleaning and sanitization policies meet or exceed operational standards when they reopen.
Given this news, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is extending its sailing operations delay until at October 1.