The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated the travel advice for the Bahamas. And, perhaps not surprisingly, the agency is recommending everyone to avoid all travel to the Islands.
The reasoning is somewhat unclear from the agency. It comes just weeks before the cruise industry plans a major restart in the Caribbean, while several vessels will be sailing from and to the Bahamas this summer.
According to local infectious disease experts, the Bahamas have a relatively low number of cases, although the country has been entering its third wave. Last week saw 297 infections, while the week prior saw 189 infections. Currently, there are 441 active cases spread over the archipelago.
Surprising Decision From The CDC
The decision to raise the Covid-19 level to level 4, the highest level, and tell US citizens to avoid all travel to the Bahamas can be called surprising, mainly because it also says all fully vaccinated people should avoid travel to the Islands. Previously, the notice was at level 3. In the meantime, the CDC is saying that travel within the US can be done while vaccinated.
The message on the CDC website reads as follows:
Key Information for Travelers to the Bahamas
- Travelers should avoid all travel to the Bahamas.
- Because of the current situation in the Bahamas, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to the Bahamas.
- If you must travel to the Bahamas, get fully vaccinated before travel. All travelers should wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, avoid crowds, and wash their hands.
The message from the CDC comes just days after the agency had updated its warning about cruising, warning people to avoid all cruise travel.
With many cruise lines planning to sail from the Bahamas in the upcoming weeks and months, raising the level for the Bahamas could well be seen as a travel block to the Islands for US citizens to avoid cruising from the Bahamas.
What Does It Mean For Cruising?
So far, the CDC has not placed any restrictions on travel to the Bahamas; cruisers do not have to self-quarantine after traveling to the Bahamas. Although the advice is that anyone who returns from the Bahamas is tested after arrival back in the US.
The Bahamas itself are reasonably confident that the third wave will not affect the tourism industry as it has implemented a set of measures it is confident will suffice.
Travelers must have a valid PCR test five days before applying for a Bahamas Travel Health Visa. Besides this, the Islands have specific guidelines for each island. According to Both Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis and Health Minister Renward Wells, there are no plans to increase COVID restrictions.
In the meantime, the Bahamas has worked hard to get the economy restarted and hopes to do so with the help of cruise lines.
So far, Crystal Cruises is planning to start sailing from the Islands in July, while Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas will start operating in June. Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, amongst others, has announced cruises from the US to the Bahamas in July as well.