Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General Sharon Haylock said yesterday that the government has not ruled out the possibility of issuing a travel ban for Florida.
“We are aware of what is going on in Florida and we are watching it but we have not talked about putting in a travel ban, which is not to say that we wouldn’t in the future,” Haylock told The Nassau Guardian.
“So, we’re watching it carefully.”
Florida is the world’s new epicenter for COVID-19 with more than 282,000 cases.
There were 12,624 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Florida yesterday.
On Sunday, the state set a new record among U.S. states for its number of cases reported in one day with more than 15,300 cases.
The Bahamas reopened its borders to visitors, including those from the United States, on July 1 after being closed for more than three months in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19. Individuals entering Bahamian borders are required to present a COVID negative test that is no older than 10 days.
The move has received some public criticism as the U.S. continues to lead global charts for its number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. There are currently more than 3.3 million cases in the U.S. It is followed by Brazil, which has over 1.8 million cases, and India with over 879,000 cases.
Despite reopening its borders to countries like the United States, government officials have continued to advise against Bahamians traveling abroad.
On June 28, Prime Minister and Minister of Health Dr. Hubert Minnis begged Bahamians not to travel abroad.
“If you are thinking of traveling for non-essential or [non-]emergency reasons, please, I beg you, stay at home at this time,” he said.
“Please stay at home. I beg you. I implore you to stay at home. If you must fly, visit our Family Islands.”
Linda Treco-Mackey, Bahamas consul general in Miami, has said she “would strongly advise against traveling to Miami right now”.
“I think the (COVID-19) numbers are just too high,” she said.