The Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation have made further adjustments to COVID-19 protocols for cruise passengers entering the country. The intention of this latest relaxation is to bring cruise protocols inline with that of air travel. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister responsible for Tourism, the Hon. Chester Cooper, spoke to members of the media concerning the matter. He said, “if you are vaccinated you require no test for enter the country. If you are unvaccinated you require a PCR or rapid antigen test. This has now been harmonized for cruise arrivals as well as air arrivals. Cruise lines now required to put place and have those procedures validated and approved by the Ministry of Health.”
These protocol changes follow the cessation of the Center for Disease Control’s [CDC] COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships which ended in mid July 2022. Minister Cooper stated, “we want to ensure that there is proper monitoring and surveillance of passengers onboard and we want to ensure that they have appropriate protocols and facilities onboard to handle positive COVID cases.”
As to the country’s Tourism position and what is anticipated in the future, the Minister said, “as you know we are building a $300 million port at the Nassau Cruise Port and we need to ensure that we are competitive in terms of what we do as it relates to our protocols whilst at the same time continuing to protect the health and safety of our residents.”
In answering whether The Bahamas will remove more COVID-19 protocols, Minister Cooper said he believes that Bahamians should get vaccinated and that we should continue the relaxation of our protocols.