Monday, July 20, 2020

Americans banned from entering Bahamas (with exceptions)

When we were allowed back into the Bahamas to pick up our boat, we went immediately to pick her up and get her home, because it was obvious that the borders could be closed again. In fact, getting our required Covid-19 test within 10 days of our Bahamas arrival was complicated by the fact that the surge in new Covid-19 cases here at home was causing a delay in getting test results.

We were very fortunate. We took the test nine days before our departure and got the results four days later, giving us enough time to complete the online process to be cleared into the Bahamas on July 1. On the morning of July 2 we departed Bimini and arrived in Palm Beach late that afternoon. 

Now, sure enough, the borders have been mostly closed again to Americans beginning this Wednesday, July 22. The story was reported today in the Washington Post here. We are very glad we acted when we could and got our ship home. The closure still allows private planes and boats to bring Americans into the Bahamas, but who knows how long that will last?

You can't blame the Bahamas. It is a small island nation that was reporting no new cases and tried to re-open its borders carefully, tests and all. But it has seen an immediate increase in Covid-19 cases since re-opening. 

As the Washington Post reported:
"The Bahamas has reported 49 new covid-19 cases since opening its borders to foreign travelers on July 1", [Prime Minister] Minnis said. That amounts to nearly a third of the total infections detected in the country since the pandemic began. Most of the new cases have been found on the island of Grand Bahama, a popular resort destination.
Warning that there was a risk of the Caribbean nation’s hospitals becoming “overrun,” Minnis said that it was time for “decisive action.” He announced a full shutdown of beaches, parks and indoor dining on Grand Bahama as well as beach closures on several other islands. A nighttime curfew will also go into effect for Grand Bahama on Monday night. 
We are deeply saddened by these developments. The Bahamas is a poor nation totally dependent on tourism...mostly from the U.S. Here's hoping this lovely country can work its way through this catastrophe. 

We hope to go back one day on our boat, but we are not at all certain when that can happen. Our hearts go out to the many Bahamians who have lost their jobs. We hope for a speedy recovery.

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