The Bahamas has passed a new emergency order that will enforce mandatory proof of vaccination for all cruise ship passengers entering the Bahamas.
The move will prevent anyone over the age of 12 from entering the Bahamas unless they are fully vaccinated and can show evidence of that. Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis signed the emergency powers to prevent cruise ships from entering the Bahamas unless they meet certain requirements.
The New Cruise Conditions
The new conditions include the following:
- The ship must transmit a full passenger manifest that discloses the vaccination status of all passengers on board.
- All passengers that are over 12 must be fully vaccinated before embarking on the cruise ship at the start of the voyage.
- The health protocols that the cruise ships submit to the Bahamian government before must be complied with for the entire journey.
However, the order does have exemptions:
- An unvaccinated passenger that is unable to have the vaccine for health reasons can still enter the Bahamas if they have evidence of medical exemption.
- If the cruise ship is entering the Bahamas in a state of emergency or any other exemptions set by the Government of the Bahamas
- The terms of the order don't apply to a ship’s crew, contractors, and any “non-revenue passengers”, consistent with the protocol that was previously agreed upon by the Bahamian government and cruise lines,
The new order will take effect from September 3rd until November 1st at the latest.
Royal Caribbean requires all passengers over the age of 12 to be fully vaccinated if they sail from Galveston, Seattle, or Bayonne. In contrast, sailings from Florida now allow unvaccinated travelers to set sail because of Florida’s law which prohibits companies from denying passengers based on their vaccination status.
Adventure of the Seas has been sailing from the Bahamas and Nassau since June, and also requires all passengers to be fully vaccinated.
Furthermore, Norweigan Cruise Line Holdings challenged the law in Florida that prevents companies from asking for proof of vaccination and won the challenge. Florida is appealing the verdict, and it’s unclear whether they will overturn the defeat.
The Bahamas aren’t the first country to ask for proof of vaccination before entering the country on a cruise. The Virgin Islands also passed a very similar law earlier this month that mandates proof of vaccination on all cruise ship passengers.
In response, Royal Caribbean made proof of vaccination for all trips to the U.S Virgin Islands mandatory. However, guests under the age of 12 can still enter if they have evidence of a negative PCR test.
The COVID-19 Situation In The Bahamas
The increasing entry restrictions are a response to rising cases of the Delta variant around the world. At the start of the pandemic, The Bahamas had very low cases of COVID-19 because they closed the border fast and early. It wasn’t until the summer — when the country started to allow tourists back onto the islands — that cases started to rise.
The Bahamas has given 110,000 vaccine doses so far, and the country has fully vaccinated 47,500 people. However, that’s only 12.2 percent of the entire population, leaving the country vulnerable to the Delta variant.
The Bahamas currently has around 100 cases of COVID-19 per day. There have only been 16,000 infections and 313 COVID-related deaths since the pandemic started.
The new restrictions seem to be a temporary measure as the country vaccinates more of its population throughout the rest of 2021.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
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