Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis delivers his address on Sunday.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced on Sunday that international commercial flights and commercial vessels carrying passengers will not be permitted to enter the Bahamas from Wednesday unless they are from Canada, the UK or the European Union.
In his national address, Dr Minnis revealed a host of measures in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases – which increased by 15 on Sunday.
In addition to the move on international travel, the Prime Minister said:
• Bahamasair will cease outgoing flights to the US immediately.
• To accommodate visitors scheduled to leave after Wednesday, outgoing commercial flights will be permitted. Private international flights and charters for Bahamians, residents and visitors will be permitted. Pleasure craft and yachts will also be permitted.
• All returning Bahamians, residents and visitors by air or sea from overseas will require a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test result from an accredited lab. You will be required to present your documents to immigration officials upon arrival. These tests must be taken no later than 10 days before the date of travel. All of these individuals must also have an approved Health Visa to enter the country. Bahamians and residents returning to the country who are not in possession of a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test result from an accredited lab will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return, via the Hubbcat Monitoring App. For travelers who do not agree to Hubcatt monitoring or whose premises are not approved by the Ministry of Health for quarantine, they must quarantine at a Government-identified facility at their own expense. At the end of the quarantine period via Hubbcat or at the facility, COVID-19 testing will be required, also at the traveler’s expense.
• Dr Minnis added that while every family must make their own decisions on students studying overseas, parents and students may wish to consider the resumption of studies beginning in January 2021.
• Domestic travel will continue to be permitted, however, all those traveling domestically within The Bahamas are still required to complete an electronic Health Visa prior to departure at travel.gov.bs.
• Public and private beaches and parks on New Providence, Paradise Island, Rose Island, Athol Island and surrounding cays will be closed until further notice, effective tomorrow, Monday, July 20, 2020 at 5am.
• Restaurants at Arawak Cay and Potter’s Cay will also be required to close, effective Monday, July 20.
• Grand Bahama: A new curfew will be implemented from 7pm to 5am daily, starting tomorrow, July 20. All public and private beaches and parks will be closed until further notice, effective Monday at 5am.
• Grand Bahama: International and domestic borders will be closed to all incoming and outgoing flights and sea vessels to and from Grand Bahama, except for emergencies and to transport essential services and goods, effective midnight Wednesday, July 22, 2020. Ferry boat operations between East End, Grand Bahama and Crown Haven, Abaco will not be allowed, effective Monday, July 20, 5am.
• Grand Bahama: Indoor dining will be closed effective Monday. Outdoor dining, takeaway and curbside delivery will be permitted. Bars remain closed. All Fish Fry’s inclusive of, but not limited to Eight Mile Rock, Smith's Point, West End and Williams Town will be closed effective Monday. All congregant activities and gatherings, inclusive of religious services, weddings and funerals, and sporting activities will not be allowed, effective Monday. This does not include students taking national examinations.
The Prime Minister also announced that Renward Wells will be sworn in on Monday as the new Minister of Health. Dr Minnis said Mr Wells is “a doer, who knows how to get things done.”
And he confirmed that Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis was stepping down as a special adviser and coordinator of the COVID-19 Task Force on Sunday.