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Bahamas Bans U.S. Citizens Because of COVID-19 Spike
Cruise ship docked in Nassau, Bahamas (Photo: Costin Constantinescu/Shutterstock)

Bahamas Bans U.S. Citizens Because of COVID-19 Spike

Bahamas Bans U.S. Citizens Because of COVID-19 Spike
Cruise ship docked in Nassau, Bahamas (Photo: Costin Constantinescu/Shutterstock)

July 20, 2020

Chris Gray Faust
Managing Editor
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(1:30 p.m. EDT) -- The spike in COVID-19 cases in the United States has prompted the Bahamas from cutting travel between the two countries, including cruise, for the foreseeable future.

The popular archipelago, which is only 50 miles from the coast of Florida, had reopened to international travel on July 1. But an uptick in cases -- 49 new infections since the country reopened, according to the Miami Herald -- led to the closure.

Other nationalities, including Canadians and visitors from the U.K. and the European Union, are allowed to visit. Private flights and charters from the U.S., as well as pleasure craft and yachts, are also still permitted. All visitors are required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, taken no more than 10 days before the date of travel.

In some ways, the order doesn't affect any currently scheduled cruises for the next few months, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended its "no sail" order barring cruises from U.S. homeports until September 30. Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, which sails from Palm Beach to Grand Bahama Island, has pushed back its restart date to October 1, 2020. 

But the country's call-out on the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. underscores how Americans are being left behind as tourism, including cruises, resumes around the world. Already cruises, with new health and safety measures and precautions, are taking place in Norway, Portugal, Germany and France, open to many nationalities, other than Americans.

In addition, the countries of the European Union still have a flight ban on the United States. The border closure between Mexico and Canada was also extended until the end of August, due to the discrepancy in COVID-19 cases between the U.S. and those countries.

There's no end date on the Bahamas ban, as of now. "The Bahamas is reviewing and being guided by the most effective practices from around the world. Reopening of borders will continue to be monitored and guided by The Bahamas government and health officials, based on COVID-19 trends," the country said, in an issued press release.

Should the ban continue into the fall, it could affect the cruise lines' plans to resume calls at their private islands, most of which fall within the Bahamas. Several cruise line CEOs, including Royal Caribbean's Richard Fain, have noted that private islands, such as Perfect Day at CocoCay, would be a good way to resume short cruises and build consumer confidence.

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