Inter-island travel requirements loosened

A travel visa and 14-day quarantine are mandatory for inter-island travel, according to the emergency powers order released on Friday.

Previous emergency powers orders required a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test result prior to travel for most islands.

However, the Emergency Powers (COVID-19 Pandemic)(No. 5)(Amendment)(No. 2) Order, 2020, only requires a negative test — no older than five days — for travel from New Providence and Grand Bahama. A negative test must be obtained prior to applying for the travel visa.

Children under 10 are not required to take the test but they are required to quarantine.

Hotels are deemed appropriate facilities for quarantine.

All passengers traveling inter-island are required to wear a face mask.

“The operator of any aircraft, passenger ferry or mailboat carrying persons inter-island shall deny the boarding of any person who is not wearing a face mask; has not presented to the carrier agent at the point of embarkation a travel visa, or in the case of an emergency, a written confirmation from a health officer or the Royal Bahamas Police Force stating that the person has an emergency and is required to travel inter-island,” the order noted.

An operator who allows a person to travel contrary to the requirements is liable to a fine of $500 for each passenger in violation.

According to the order, the competent authority, after consultation with the Ministry of Health, can exempt any person, who is traveling inter-island, from quarantine “where exceptional circumstances exists”.

Individuals traveling inter-island from Chub Cay, Harbour Island, Long Cay, Long Island, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador and Spanish Wells are exempted from requirement to quarantine.

A public officer, who is traveling for government business and who has written confirmation from the permanent secretary of the respective ministry or the head of the respective agency, is also exempted from that requirement. 

Public officers traveling from Grand Bahama and New Providence are still required to test negative for COVID-19.

Charters, including inter-island charters, are permitted to operate as long as they adhere to the provisions outlined in the latest order.

The order also notes that the minister of education can grant approval to any school to engage in face-to-face instruction provided that the Ministry of Health has determined it safe to do so.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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