Govt plans on lifting travel quarantine requirements

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday there will soon be an announcement regarding the lifting of quarantine requirements for both domestic and international travel.

“We will present a plan very soon to remove both domestic and international quarantine related to travel,” he said.

“And the minister of tourism will give an update on such plan very soon.”

The government anticipates a ramping up of the tourism industry by November, although there is no word from major resorts Atlantis and Baha Mar on their reopening.

Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar previously said he was in support of finding a way to get rid of quarantine requirements to ensure The Bahamas remains a competitive destination.

In order to enter the country, travelers — Bahamian citizens, residents and tourists — must obtain a COVID-19 RT-PCR negative test within five days of travel and are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Visitors whose trips are shorter, must quarantine for the duration of their time in The Bahamas.

Individuals traveling inter-island are required to obtain a travel visa and submit to a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival. Travelers who depart from New Providence to a Family Island are also required to obtain a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 molecular diagnostic test, no older than five days.

Minnis said yesterday that the government remains committed to the “reopening” of the tourism sector by mid-October “with the necessary protocols that must be put in place”.

He expressed his disappointment with the criticism of the Ministry of Tourism.

“Tourism officials, in the public and private sectors, have been working very hard over many months to devise plans for a phased reopening,” he said.

“It is unfortunate, unduly harsh and unfair to criticize the staff of the Ministry of Tourism for having no plans.

“This is disingenuous, untrue, unhelpful, and unfortunate. If one has any advice or constructive criticism for the hardworking staff of the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation and other stakeholders involved in creating plans for reopening, such help would be welcome.

“But it is deeply disappointing when some people launch unfounded and unfair criticism of those trying hard to launch the reopening of tourism. I salute them for their efforts.”

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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