9:27 am PDT, Monday, July 20, 2020
The Bahamas is closing its borders to travelers from the United States due to concerns over the coronavirus. The move comes just three weeks after the country reopened its borders to visitors from other countries, including Americans.
“International commercial flights and commercial vessels [cruise lines] carrying passengers will not be permitted to enter our borders, except for commercial flights from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union,” a statement on the Bahamas tourism website says.
The travel ban goes into effect this Wednesday, July 22.
With just 50 miles separating the Bahamas from Florida, the move will make a significant mark on the nation’s tourism revenues. According to the Miami Herald, “The U.S., and Florida in particular, represents the largest tourism market for the Bahamas, which has been keeping a close eye on Florida’s high COVID-19 case count and death toll.”
The popular Atlantis Paradise Island resort was slated to reopen on July 7, but that date has been pushed back to at least July 30.
Tourists from the US will be banned from entering whether or not they can produce a negative Covid-19 test. But those from Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union are allowed if they provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 10 days prior to their arrival in the Bahamas.
The Bahamas recorded 15 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing its total to 153, according to the Bahamian Ministry of Health.
SFGATE senior travel correspondent Chris McGinnis contributed to this report.