Effective 20 February 2022, several changes have been made to Bahamian COVID-19 protocols.
DAY 5 RAPID ANTIGEN TEST REPLACES PREVIOUS DAY 2 TEST
In terms of travel, the most notable revision is that all travellers arriving in the Bahamas — regardless of nationality or vaccine status — must undergo a Rapid Antigen Test on Day 5 of their visit. (Day of arrival is counted as Day 1.)
This requirement replaces the former Day 2 testing requirement, and is waived if you’re staying in the country fewer than five days.
Regarding domestic travel, anyone — regardless of nationality or vaccine status — travelling FROM Nassau or Grand Bahama TO any other Bahamian island must undergo a Rapid Antigen Test on Day 5 at their destination.
Again, this requirement replaces the former Day 2 testing protocol and is waived if you’re not staying at your destination for five days or more.
Should your Day 5 Rapid Antigen Test come back positive, you’ll need to undergo a PCR test and “vacation in place” until the results of that test are received.
PROVISIONS FOR BOATERS
If you’re travelling by boat and are at sea on Day 5, you’re required to undergo a Rapid Antigen Test at your next stop.
Speaking of mariners, I’ve had a few folks ask what they should do if they’re at sea in the days prior to arrival in the Bahamas. How can they provide a negative COVID-19 test result, taken within the 72-hour window prior to arrival, as required for the Bahamas Travel Health Visa?
Per the Bahamas Travel Health Visa guidelines, anyone in this circumstance must, upon arrival, demonstrate that at the time they left their last stop, they had a valid (within 72 hours of that departure) negative Covid-19 test result. They must also demonstrate that they’ve made no stops since then before arriving in the Bahamas.
Assuming you’ve got Internet access and are fully vaccinated, however, there’s another option.
Proctored home Rapid Antigen Tests — that is, those performed under the online supervision of a telehealth professional (for example, the Abbott BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test) are acceptable for fully vaccinated folks to enter the Bahamas, as well as the U.S. and Canada.
There are lots of home tests available that aren’t proctored, so double check to be sure you get one that is. And when arranging your Bahamas Travel Health Visa, be sure to upload the official results you receive from the proctor.
OTHER NOTABLE CHANGES
Other recent changes to Bahamian Covid-19 protocols that may be of interest to visitors include:
- Before allowing entry, restaurants must ensure that patrons are either fully vaccinated or have a valid negative rapid antigen test result. They must also ensure patrons wear masks as outlined in the protocols, and may operate at up to 75% of their maximum capacity.
- Indoor social gatherings of up to 40 people may be held in private homes
- Outdoor social gatherings of up to 100 people may be held, provided that all attendees are fully vaccinated or provide a valid negative rapid antigen test and that all COVID protocols are followed.