Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
TOURISM Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar confirmed last night that Bahamians who want to have a vacation and stay in a hotel will be required to have a negative COVID test in just the same fashion as visitors arriving from outside the country.
His statement to The Tribune came as the country recorded 37 additional COVID-19 cases, including five on New Providence and 32 on Grand Bahama. The number of hospitalised cases increased by four for a total of 16.
Earlier yesterday the Ministry of Tourism released a statement saying it was aware of special offers and packages from hotels designed for Bahamian residents during lockdown periods.
It said: “Weekend lockdowns are being implemented for the sole purpose of curbing further spread of COVID-19.
“All residents, with the exception of essential workers, are required to remain in their place of residence for the duration of the lockdown period, unless for the purpose of seeking emergency medical care or securing groceries, gas, pharmaceuticals or water.”
The statement went on to say “No hotel or resort is permitted to allow any guest – whether an international traveller or a Bahamian resident – to remain within its property without a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test”.
“That is trying to allow for tourism,” Mr D’Aguilar told this newspaper. “You can’t have a hotel facility that is open to persons coming from overseas who have had a negative test to co-mingle with guests who have not had a test. Everybody has to have the same status. We’re not denying Bahamians, you just can’t have a different status from the person in the hotel.”
The ministry also reminded hoteliers of their responsibility in ensuring physical distancing and mask wearing requirements.