Living with Corona
The Islands of the Bahamas

Government to intro­du­ce COVID-19 tra­vel card for Fami­ly Islands

The Government will intro­du­ce a COVID-19 Tra­vel Aut­ho­riz­a­ti­on Card that will allow indi­vi­du­als to tra­vel to appro­ved Fami­ly Islands as part of a gra­du­al re-opening of inter-island tra­vel, Prime Minis­ter the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Min­nis announ­ced on Sunday in a live tele­vi­sed COVID-19 Natio­nal Address.

Under this gra­du­al re-opening, tra­vel to Fami­ly Islands clea­red to resu­me nor­mal com­mer­cial acti­vi­ty must be appro­ved and moni­to­red under a poli­cy and pro­to­cols deve­lo­ped by the Minis­try of Health, said Prime Minis­ter Min­nis.

This poli­cy and pro­to­col will requi­re indi­vi­du­als to regis­ter with the Minis­try of Health by emai­ling covid19travel@bahamas.gov.bs.

Indi­vi­du­als must also sub­mit to an eva­lua­ti­on by a Minis­try of Health-authorized phy­si­ci­an, in the public or pri­va­te sec­tor.

“This eva­lua­ti­on will inclu­de a risk assess­ment via a ques­ti­onn­aire to deter­mi­ne the individual’s level of risk for COVID-19 infec­tion, and a phy­si­cal exam to deter­mi­ne the pre­sence of any sym­ptoms con­sis­tent with COVID-19,” the Prime Minis­ter exp­lai­ned.

If deemed low risk and the phy­si­cal exam does not reve­al any sym­ptoms, it is expec­ted that the per­son will be issued a COVID-19 Tra­vel Aut­ho­riz­a­ti­on Card that will allow tra­vel to the Fami­ly Island.

If the indi­vi­du­al is deemed a hig­her risk or has sym­ptoms that may be con­sis­tent with COVID-19, the indi­vi­du­al will be refer­red for tes­ting to defi­ni­tively deter­mi­ne their COVID-19 sta­tus.

Howe­ver, the health­ca­re pro­vi­der may still deci­de that a per­son who is con­si­de­red low risk may need to be tes­ted for COVID-19.

Indi­vi­du­als tra­vel­ling on behalf of their work­place will be sub­jec­ted to simi­lar requi­re­ments, said Prime Minis­ter Min­nis.  

To faci­li­ta­te the­se arran­ge­ments, the Minis­try of Health is col­la­bo­ra­ting clo­se­ly with the Civil Avia­ti­on Aut­ho­ri­ty. 

The Prime Minis­ter said poli­ci­es and pro­ce­du­res have been deve­lo­ped to enhan­ce com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on bet­ween the two orga­ni­sa­ti­ons for decisi­ons regar­ding who can tra­vel; and whe­re they can tra­vel in the Fami­ly Islands or Grand Baha­ma.

In the first pha­se of inter-island tra­vel, resi­dents of clea­red Fami­ly Islands who are in New Pro­vi­dence may tra­vel back home after going through the pro­cess out­lined.

Indi­vi­du­als may start app­ly­ing on Wed­nes­day 20 May.

Once clea­red for tra­vel, each tra­ve­ler must pre­sent the COVID-19 Tra­vel Aut­ho­riz­a­ti­on Card to the rele­vant ticket agent.

The card grants appro­val from the Minis­try of Health for inter-island tra­vel. Each per­son must also pre­sent a Government-issued ID.

Resi­dents of the clea­red Fami­ly Islands may tra­vel bet­ween tho­se islands by pla­ne or boat, said Prime Minis­ter Min­nis.

“For examp­le, a resi­dent of Long Island may tra­vel to Cat Island or any other island inclu­ded on the list. The­se resi­dents may tra­vel without the COVID-19 Tra­vel Aut­ho­riz­a­ti­on Card,” said the Prime Minis­ter.

“Tho­se on the Fami­ly Islands clea­red for com­mer­cial acti­vi­ty may also tra­vel to New Pro­vi­dence and Grand Baha­ma. But in order to return to their respec­ti­ve islands they must com­ple­te the pro­ce­du­res and pro­ces­ses out­lined.”

Boaters aboard plea­su­re craft ancho­red off­shore in Baha­mi­an waters for at 14 days will also be allo­wed to come ashore to con­duct rou­ti­ne busi­ness, while prac­ti­cing phy­si­cal distancing pro­to­cols at all times, said Prime Minis­ter Min­nis.

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