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Five-Day Rule Is Not Workable

EDITOR, The Tribune.

For those Bahamians who agree with your Government’s five-day rule for entry I would suggest they quickly need a reality check.

As a lifelong visitor from my youth to Nassau, these rules are so unworkable that it is almost impossible to travel there.

In your story today, hotel officials now say that bookings are slow for their reopening but will improve by the second quarter. On what evidence can they make those statements? I would have thought they would be in the forefront in demanding easier entry for visitors.

Some comments from Bahamians on your online service blame prospective visitors for not being able to comply with the requirements. We are not to blame. Your Government made the rules. Who would purchase an air ticket and in many cases pay ahead for accommodation if you are not certain you can actually travel? Very few people indeed.

We have to travel an hour in the car to a clinic offering a COVID-19 PCR test and pay $275 for the test. We are told they will be ready in two days. Then we must fill out the Health Visa application and with the test scan it on the computer or go to a business place who will do that and not be certain when travel permission will come back. Then we must be in Nassau by the fifth day. There are now so few flights to Nassau that there is no flexibility. Most people will not take that risk.

When are your officials going to understand that this system is the greatest problem to your tourist recovery? It is one thing for Bahamian Tourism staff to sit around a desk and create travel policies. It is quite another to get visitors to comply with them. It is wrong for such officials to blame it solely on the health pandemic.

Most Americans are well and are willing to travel. They like to escape the cold winter conditions but they can travel to many other southern destinations with far fewer requirements.

The tourism sector is so important to your economy and the need for jobs vital for Bahamian families that changes must be made or you will never recover.

Our local travel agent simply cannot believe the way you are currently operating. They are unwilling to book anyone to Nassau because of the financial risk involved for clients if flights and accommodation paid ahead are lost or with heavy penalties because travel permission comes too late. What is wrong with testing people on arrival or letting them bring test results with them?

We have been dedicated visitors for over 30 years and I am writing because we feel so badly for not being able to travel and for the many kind Bahamians who have helped us over the years who are facing a dire future without employment.

All of these problems are so unnecessary if your Government officials had properly implemented rules to encourage tourism rather than destroy your main economic activity.

DANIEL MORRISON

Shrewsbury New Jersey,

USA

December 10, 2020.

Comments

newcitizen 1 year, 1 month ago

What's up with these letters to the editor, and why does the Tribune keep publishing them? Daniel claims to live in Shrewsbury, New Jersey and has to drive for an hour to get to a clinic for a test? That's BS. It take less than a hour to drive from Shrewsbury to downtown NY city. $275 for a test? That's also BS. New Jersey if offering free testing throughout the state.

Every couple of days a new letter with the exact same complaints and overly scolding attitude of entitlement. It's like the same person keeps writing them, and of course the Tribune just publishes without much thought.

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Porcupine 1 year, 1 month ago

The letter writer's complaints seem quite valid, given my acquaintances in the US have told me the same thing.

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newcitizen 1 year, 1 month ago

So your US aquaintances are as inept at organizing themselves as Daniel (should really have signed it Karen). Consider our entry procedures as sort of a litmus test, if you can't manage to organize yourself to get here then you'll be too stupid to follow rules once you are here.

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kairosmatt 1 year, 1 month ago

Part of this letter are legit, but the testing is free almost everywhere stateside and widely available.

The five day window is tight and hard to plan for. 3-4 days just to get lab results, 24-48 hours after that to get your health visa approved. Everything has to go perfectly or you can't make the flight. Fortunately most airlines have free rescheduling now. But it's tough to travel anywhere right now

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tribanon 1 year, 1 month ago

Dream on. The testing is not free state side and costs even more if you need to get the lab results back on an expedited basis. I've been tested a half dozen times or more in the US in order to get back into The Bahamas and each time cost more than the next.

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JokeyJack 1 year, 1 month ago

The testing is free if you want to wait a week or even 10 ten days for the results. If you need the results in 48 hours, you've got to pay at a private clinic.

The bottom line, is that it doesn't matter what the pros or cons think about this issue. Reality will decide the final outcome. When the number of tourists does not rise, then perhaps people in the Bahamas will question the system. Unfortunately by then many repeat visitors like the gentleman from NJ here may have discovered greener pastures in Cayman or St. Martin or elsewhere and decide to become repeat visitors there instead.

The cost of this COVID nonsense is going to come out more and more as 2021 goes along. All of the true foolishness will be brought to light. Right now people have all kinds of information that they are just holding on to, awaiting the right time to speak. Right now you cannot speak or else you are called a killer. Nobody wants to be called a killer. Eventually society will wake up to realize that Covid is not the only thing that kills people. Amazing, I read an article that says the CDC does not plan to issue any figures for flu infections this winter - guess they gonna mark them all as Covid ?

It's like the joke about the guy in the Everglades swampland in Florida who was eaten by an alligator one afternoon a few weeks ago. He died later that same evening of Covid.

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Bobsyeruncle 1 year, 1 month ago

The testing is free if you want to wait a week or even 10 ten days for the results. If you need the results in 48 hours, you've got to pay at a private clinic.

Exactly right. Testing with same day results costs at least $200, and there aren't that many places that do it. Also, most insurance won't cover it. Testing with results in 2-3 days is anywhere from $0-$150 and usually covered by health insurance. However, since most people go the free testing sites the wait time to get results is typically longer, especially when infections increase.

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happyfly 1 year, 1 month ago

The reality is that the only thing this travel testing regime is for is to try to convince scared Bahamians that the government is doing 'something' even if it is completely ineffective at controlling the spread of the virus that is already within our borders. And as short as 5 days is, it is still a ridiculous notion that people cant catch and transmit the virus within these time frames so to introduce a dog and pony show this late in the day is quite absurd and nothing more than an unnecessary drag on our tourism. Hopefully, all of the other big hotels will put their foot down, as Atlantis already has, and force the government to get over itself....

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JokeyJack 1 year, 1 month ago

Dog & Pony Show is correct - for the ignorant, both here and in the USA. I had to laugh the other day when it was reported in US news that even after you get the vaccine you still have to wear a mask. LOL. Once China and Russia are vaccinated and are back to normal, they are going to get tons of good laughter and entertainment by watching the western world still walking around with their masks on.

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Bobsyeruncle 1 year, 1 month ago

Why is wearing a mask going to look funny? In Asian countries it is quite common to see people in masks when they have head cold etc. Been that way for a long time. Also, people in the west often wear balaclavas, scarves or other items that cover their mouths and faces.

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rodentos 1 year, 1 month ago

the 5 day rule is not only stupid, it is useless. You can catch covid between the test day and arrival. Most labs also provide test results within UP TO 72hrs. Now how does this sum up with health visa taking ALSO UP TO 72 hours?! Primary school math gives me 8 days when I sum up both, but idk maybe these officials who make the rules didn't attend any school and for them 4+4 = 5?

Who makes these idiotic rules.

All civilized countries offer test on arrival.

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