Severity: Critical Alert
Exit/Entry: Bahamas gradually eases COVID-19 restrictions on Grand Bahama and Family Islands as of Sept. 8. A 2200-050 curfew remains in place.
Alert Begins 08 Sep 2020 10:31 AM UTC
Alert Expires 30 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Commercial and transport disruptions
Authorities in the Bahamas are continuing the phased reopening of businesses as of Sept. 8 while maintaining other restrictions as part of the nation's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response plan. The restrictions have mostly been eased in all so-called Second Schedule group of islands, except New Providence. This group is comprised of Grand Bahama and New Providence, as well as the Family Islands of Abaco, Acklins, Andros, Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Crooked Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Inagua, and Mayaguana.
Officials will continue to enforce the 2200-0500 curfew across Second Schedule islands until further notice. Nationwide requirements to adhere to social distancing and sanitization protocols, and to wear a facemask in public, remain in place.
On the Second Schedule islands, all businesses that had not been permitted to reopen before may now resume operations, subject to operating protocols and public health measures. Facilities and businesses may operate at any time outside the curfew, except in New Providence, where previously announced operating hours were 0600-2100. Casinos, bars, discos, cinemas, and gyms are to stay closed, and regattas, festivals, and similar events remain prohibited. Other revised measures on most islands as of Sept. 8 are:
- Retailers may offer in-store service.
- Restaurants may offer indoor dining services, except in New Providence.
- Social gatherings of up to a maximum of 10 people are permitted, except in New Providence.
- Individual outdoor exercise limited to one's neighborhood is permitted 0500-2200; group exercise is permitted 0500-1200.
- Beaches and parks may open 0500-1200 daily.
Elsewhere, business and movement restrictions have been mostly lifted on the First Schedule islands of Chub Cay, Long Cay, Long Island, Harbour Island, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador, and Spanish Wells. Commercial activities are permitted, provided businesses adhere to physical distancing and sanitization protocols. Church services, funerals, and weddings may proceed, but physical distancing protocols must be adhered to.
International and Domestic Travel
International commercial and private flights, as well as sea vessels, may enter the Bahamas. All travelers, regardless of country of origin, are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine in a government facility upon arrival at their own expense. Travelers must also present a negative COVID-19 test certificate taken no more than 10 days before travel. Travelers who fail to present this document will be denied entry. Contact tracing applications must be installed on smartphones. All inter-island travel will resume Sept. 9; travelers will also be subject to the mandatory quarantine protocols. Only persons traveling from New Providence are required to present a negative COVID-19 test. Local and international cargo and emergency aircraft and sea vessels continue to operate.
All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice, and previously lifted measures may be reapplied.
Background and Analysis
Several regional governments have begun implementing recovery plans to lift restrictive measures introduced in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) March 11. Relaxed restrictions may be reapplied if the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increases. This is especially likely on the more densely populated islands of Grand Bahama, Bimini, and New Providence, where the capital and commercial hub, Nassau, is located. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in a further relaxation of restrictions.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.