The Bahamas has closed its borders to international commercial flights from the United States, the country announced Sunday.
The move comes due to what officials called a “continued increase in COVID-19 cases in the United States, as well as an uptick in cases in The Bahamas.”
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced the decision, which takes effect Wednesday, July 22 at midnight.
Outgoing flights will be permitted to accommodate any current visitors scheduled to return to the United States after Wednesday, July 22, the government said.
The move includes a closure to commercial vessels carrying passengers from the United States, along with the immediate cessation of Bahamasair outgoing flights to the United States.
The Bahamas will be continuing to allow private flights and charters from the United States, however, along with pleasure craft and yachts.
Travelers from Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union are exempt from the emergency order.
All visitors from those countries, along with U.S. private flights and boaters, will be required to present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test from an approved lab, taken no more than 10 days prior to the date of travel.
The Bahamas had reopened its borders to international tourism on July 1.
Since that date, the Ministry of Tourism said “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.”
“The Bahamas is reviewing and being guided by the most effective practices from around the world,” the Ministry of Tourism said in a statement. “Reopening of borders will continue to be monitored and guided by The Bahamas government ad health officials, based on COVID-19 trends.”