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Bahamas restricting visitors from United States due to coronavirus pandemic

All commercial flights, vessels won't be allowed to enter the Bahamas starting Wednesday
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Posted at 6:23 AM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 17:37:09-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — If you were planning a vacation to the Bahamas this summer, you may need to rethink your plans.

The island nation just announced sweeping restrictions for tourists, specifically from the United States, in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The major announcement comes just weeks after the Bahamas reopened its borders to visitors earlier this month.

In the prime minister's national address, Hubert Minnis said the country has 15 new coronavirus cases for a total of 153.

"Our current situation demands decisive action if we are to avoid being overrun and defeated by this virus," Minnis said.

Starting on Wednesday at midnight, international commercial flights and vessels will not be permitted to enter the Bahamas, except for flights from the United Kingdom, European Union, and Canada.

BahamasAir is stopping outgoing flights to the U.S. effective immediately.

The arrivals board at Palm Beach International Airport on Monday morning showed that a BahamasAir flight from Marsh Harbor was expected to arrive at 11:20 a.m. However, around 1 p.m., the flight was removed from the board and the plane never arrived at PBIA.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus

Prime Minister Minnis said outgoing commercial vessels and flights that are still allowed to depart the Bahamas to accommodate travelers are expected to leave after July 22.

Private international flights and charters and pleasure craft and yachts are still allowed.

On Grand Bahama, there is a new curfew in place from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. No international or domestic flights or sea vessels are allowed in or out of the island, except for emergency and essential purposes.

The prime minister said indoor restaurant dining is prohibited, but outdoor dining, curbside, take-out and delivery is allowed. All fish fry's, beaches, parks, and bars remain closed.

Beaches and parks are closed on New Providence, Paradise Island, Rose Island, Athol Island, and other cays surrounding New Providence until the COVID-19 enforcement unit can enforce proper physical distancing protocols.

There is a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in place for all areas other than Grand Bahama.

Restaurants at Arawak Cay and Potter's Cay are closed until the COVID-19 enforcement unit can enforce proper physical distancing protocols.

Since opening its borders July 1, 49 new cases of COIVD-19 were recorded, with 31 of them on Grand Bahama. Domestic travel is still permitted with a health visa, except for Grand Bahama.

Anyone entering the country must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the previous 10 days.