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The Bahamas could position themselves as “The Healthy Cruise Port”

PHOTO: Prince George Wharf in Nassau, The Bahamas

PortandTerminal.com, October 3, 2020

The cruise industry needs “Healthy Ports” to sail from if it hopes to reassure skittish passengers to board ships again. The Bahamas may offer it a beachhead.

NASSAU, THE BAHAMAS – Last week we speculated on whether by removing all sensible measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in his state Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had doomed Florida’s cruise industry restart to failure.

Gov. DeSantis lifted all restrictions on restaurants, bars and other businesses in Florida as he seeks to reopen the state’s economy. Bars, restaurants and so on can operate at full capacity.

In doing so he guaranteed that the deadly spread of coronavirus in his state –already an infection/death hotspot — will now accelerate. He may have also jeopardized the cruise industry’s much-needed relaunch. Who wants to board a cruise ship in an out-of-control virus hotspot and put their lives at risk? The cruise industry needs Healthy Ports to sail from if it hopes to reassure skittish passengers.

We also suggested that perhaps Gov. DeSantis’ fumbling of the coronavirus pandemic presented an opportunity to The Bahamas, home to the world’s 5th largest cruise port and conveniently located just 50 miles from the United States.

Today, the case for the Bahamas to do just that, position themselves as the “Healthy Port” alternative to “Sick Florida”, just got a whole lot stronger.

The Bahamas announce smart new coronavirus travel measures

The Bahamas have announced that they are doing at least two things that make their case for them being the Healthy Cruise Port suddenly a whole lot stronger.

First, they are making it easier for people to visit the Bahamas.

Beginning Nov. 1, The Bahamas will remove the mandatory “vacation in place” requirements for all visitors, “enabling everyone to move about and explore the destination beyond the confines of their hotel or other accommodations,” the Ministry of Tourism said in a statement. 

Secondly, they are putting in place smart screening measures to prevent infected visitors from arriving.

The new protocols will require visitors, returning citizens and residents to obtain a negative result on an RT-PCR swab test no more than seven (7) days prior to their travel of The Bahamas. 

In addition, all travelers will take a rapid antigen test upon arrival in The Bahamas — and then again 96 hours after arrival in The Bahamas. (Children under 10 will be exempt from the antigen test requirement). 

All travellers will have to obtain a Bahamas Health Travel Visa before their trip, with the cost of the visa dependent on the length of stay. 

The rapid test will take place at approved ports of entry and will yield results in 20 minutes or less.

These intelligent measures which The Bahamas are putting in place COMBINED with the new health the cruise lines have adopted give the industry its best shot at safely restarting.

Are the safety measures being put in place by The Bahamas bullet-proof? No. Mistakes will happen. But compared to the petri dish state of Florida, they give the cruise industry a starting point as it struggles to revive itself.

What a difference smart leaders who follow the science can make.

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