The Bahamas Will Welcome Private Yachts, Planes on June 15, Followed by Commercial Travel in July
The Bahamas will reopen for tourism starting June 15, allowing yachts and private planes at first before welcoming commercial travelers in July, the country’s Ministry of Tourism & Aviation shared with Travel + Leisure.
When the country does reopen for tourism, The Bahamas will implement several safety measures like temperature screenings at both airports and seaports, requiring visitors to wear a mask when social distancing is not possible, and introducing a “Clean & Pristine certification program” for tourism-related businesses like hotels and restaurants.
“Our top priority has and will always be our commitment to the health and wellbeing of our residents and visitors,” Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation Director General Joy Jibrilu said in a statement shared with T+L. “We must remember that we are living in a new normal in the wake of COVID-19 and a lot is going to change across the tourism sector. We are putting an even greater emphasis on making sure The Bahamas is safe and clean for everyone, and look forward to once again providing travelers with the tropical experience our islands are known for.”
The Caribbean islands will start by first welcoming boats and private flights, which they are billing as a way to test the new safety measures. On July 1, commercial airlines can start bringing tourists back, and hotels and home vacation rental companies Airbnb and HomeAway can start to welcome guests again.
Frequent cleaning of guest rooms and public spaces will be required in hotels and home rentals, and hand sanitizer and wipes will be widely available throughout the properties, the tourism ministry said. Additionally, hotels have to limit the number of people in an elevator at once and take any “unnecessary literature” out of rooms.
When on the islands, people are expected to wear face masks in taxis, and beach chairs need to be placed six feet apart.
Additionally, flights leaving the island will be scheduled to depart from every other gate, according to the tourism ministry, to ensure space between waiting passengers.
On June 2, The Bahamas allowed non-essential storefront businesses to reopen on weekdays during the day on certain islands, including Grand Bahama, as part of Phase 3 of its reopening plan, according to the Office of the Prime Minister. Restaurants on several islands, like Grand Bahama, however, are still limited to curbside pickup and delivery, and other facilities remain closed.
The Bahamas have recorded 102 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University, which tracks the spread of the virus.