Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said that his government "will be doing everything possible to ensure that the health protocols and Emergency Orders are enforced, to limit the spread of the virus and to avoid further restrictive control measures."
The country will ban all international flights and commercial vessels except Canada, the United Kingdom, and nations within the European Union.
However, the measure will severely affect tourism from the United States as it is estimated that an average of 5.5 million visitors from that country arrives in the Bahamas each year, according to figures by the U.S. Department of State.
On Sunday I announced a number of enforcement measures to assist in the Government’s comprehensive national strategy in the battle against COVID-19, including new fines and the establishment of a COVID-19 Enforcement Unit. Read more here: https://t.co/wp0ZcCvh6npic.twitter.com/niToH89b2c
As the U.S. remains the global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic recording 3,804,907 cases, the Prime Minister also announced that Bahamas Air would cease all outgoing flights to the USA immediately.
Other measures include that all returning residents and visitors will require a negative test result within ten days before departure day, and it will be considered a violation of the law to falsify the results, which will be penalized with a fine not exceeding $2,000 or to two years imprisonment or both.
On the other hand, a curfew from 17 hr to 5 hr will be imposed on the Gran Bahama island starting today since the COVID-19 is resurging in the area after two moths wholly banished. Likewise, for this island mainly, all international and domestic borders will be closed to all incoming and outgoing air and sea vessels from July 22.
Moreover, a health visa is required to enter the country, and all travelers need to apply for this visa to be able to make domestic travels, which will be permitted.
"We cannot allow our hospitals to be overrun. Many priorities must be balanced, be they health, social, and economical. Chief amongst these though, is health. We cannot risk the death of Bahamians and our residents," Prime Minister Minnis emphasized.
The official also urged people to abide by these regulations; otherwise, the whole nation could face a national lockdown from July 24. The Bahamas had opened its borders to international tourism on July 1, 2020, including U.S. citizens.