Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Nassau, The Bahamas

Health Alert

Location:  The Bahamas

Event:      May 18, 2020 Update

Emergency Powers Orders Updates Announced on May 17, 2020

On May 17, the Prime Minister announced modifications to the Emergency Powers Orders. Please read the full text at https://opm.gov.bs/national-address-17-may-2020.

Boaters on pleasure craft anchored offshore in Bahamian waters (who have effectively been social distancing for 14 days or longer) are now permitted to go ashore to conduct routine business, while maintaining appropriate social distancing protocols.

Bimini will be under a complete lockdown from Monday, May 18 at 9:00 p.m. until Saturday, May 30 at midnight.

The Prime Minister announced the re-opening of normal commercial activity on the following Family Islands:  Cat Island, Long Island, Abaco and Andros, as of May 18.  Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Cay, Rum Cay and Ragged Island, are open for normal commercial activity as of May 4.  Notwithstanding the resumption of commercial activity, weekday curfews and weekend lockdown measures remain in place, as do physical distancing measures and the requirement to wear masks.

Modifications to the current ban on inter-island travel were also announced.  The Ministry of Health has developed protocols to allow individuals presently in The Bahamas but not on one of the above listed Family Islands, to travel to those specific islands.  This policy and protocol will require individuals to register with the Ministry of Health by emailing covid19travel@bahamas.gov.bs and submitting to an evaluation by a Ministry of Health-authorized physician. Individuals who are deemed low risk will be issued a COVID-19 Authorization Travel Card which will allow for travel to these specific Family Islands. Individuals may start this registration process on May 20.

Residents of the Family Islands listed which are cleared for commercial activity may travel between those islands by plane or boat without a COVID-19 Travel Authorization Card.  Those on the Family Islands cleared for commercial activity may also travel to New Providence and Grand Bahama, however in order to return to their respective islands they must complete the procedures and processes outlined above.

Except for the new protocol and the Family Islands described above, any other inter-island travel must be pre-approved by the Bahamas’ Civil Aviation Authority.

Emergency Powers Orders  – Travel Restrictions, Curfew and Lockdown Information

All airports and seaports of The Bahamas remain closed to incoming international flights carrying visitors until at least May 30 (including private airports).  In his May 17 national address, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis previewed that the Bahamian government is “looking at a possible opening date for commercial travel on or before July 1st,” but emphasized that it will “only be applied to those islands where the outbreak has been contained” and that these dates can change depending on changing circumstances.    

The 24-hour curfew regulations continue throughout the month of May, with full lockdowns taking place each weekend in May from 9:00 p.m. on Fridays through 5:00 a.m. on Mondays.  During the lockdown periods, only hospitals, hotels with guests, law enforcement and essential utility personnel are excepted from these around the clock shutdown restrictions.  We urge all U.S. citizens still in The Bahamas and its territorial waters to shelter in place or stay in your home and yard, on your vessel, or in your lodging during these lockdown periods, until the regular 24-hour curfew regulations resume at 5:00 a.m. on the following Monday.

Scheduled Commercial Airline Flights to the United States as of 1200 EDT May 18

International scheduled commercial flights and private charter flight options, while limited, currently still exist in The Bahamas.  All flights require the use of face masks.  U.S. citizens who wish to return to the United States should make arrangements as soon as possible unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.

Nassau:  JetBlue has scheduled flights from Nassau to Fort Lauderdale on Thursdays during the month of May.  Please contact the airline directly.

Freeport:  Silver Airways is currently offering flights on most Thursdays from Freeport to Fort Lauderdale, contingent upon demand.  Please contact the airline directly.

Private Charter Flights to the United States

Some private charter companies have confirmed their ability to provide flights into the United States directly from The Bahamas.  We encourage you to contact charter companies directly with questions regarding availability and cost.

·         Air Care 1: aircareone.com, +1-502-242-7760

·         All Bahamas Courier Services: +1-242-727-4165

·         Aztec Airways:  +1-954-351-9313

·         Bahamas Charter Flights: +1-954-359-0320

·         IBC Airways: +1-954-848-2370

·         Island Air Charters: +1-954-359-9942

·         Island Wings – USA: +1-954-617-8804

·         Makers Air – FXE:  +1-954-771-0330

·         Noble Air Charter:  +1-305-685-9634

·         Silver Airways charter flights: +1-801-401-9103

·         Trans Island Airways:  sales@tia.aero

·         Treasure Air Charters:  1-305-741-0489

·         Tropic Air Charters – FXE:  +1-954-267-0707

·         Tropic Ocean Airways – FLL:  +1-954-210-5569

·         Tropix Air/Island Wings Ltd.:  +1-242-424-4260

This list is not an endorsement. Additional operators not listed above may be available.

Departure of Private Vessels from The Bahamas

On April 14, 2020, the Bahamian government established general protocols for private watercraft in The Bahamas.  Please read the full text at https://bs.usembassy.gov/covid-19-private-vessels/.

The private Association of Bahamas Marinas has created The Bahamas Safe Passage Home and Sea Quarantine as an orderly way to help vessels either remain moored or leave Bahamian waters. The program exists within the existing guidelines of the Bahamian government’s emergency powers orders and service will NOT be offered on days where a total shutdown has been ordered.  There are now strategically placed participating marinas through the country available and open to accept vessels if arrangements are made prior to arrival.  Details about the program and participating marinas can be found here:

https://blog.bahamasmarinas.com/2020/04/14/bahamas-government-protocols-for-boating-in-the-bahamas-april-2020/

This is not an endorsement. Additional operators not listed above may be available.

Actions to Take:

·         Follow the instructions and regulations coming from the Bahamian government; please consult https://covid19.gov.bs and https://opm.gov.bs/ ​for the latest information on COVID-19 from the Government of The Bahamas.

·         Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information and recommendations for travelers and high-risk populations.

·         See the CDC’s latest recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

·         Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.

·         Visit the U.S. Embassy COVID-19 Information Page for information on conditions in The Bahamas.

·         Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website for the most up-to-date information on travel restrictions to the United States.

Assistance:

U.S. Embassy Nassau, The Bahamas

#42 Queen Street, Nassau

+1-242-322-1181

ACSNassau@state.gov

U.S. Embassy Nassau webpage 

For U.S. Citizens in an Emergency

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