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No more COVID travel card, borders open to domestic travel next week

LocalJune 1, 2020 at 12:50 pm Eyewitness News

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Domestic travelers will no longer need to see a doctor before booking commercial travel through the islands. In a statement today, the Office of the Prime Minister announced the country’s borders will be opened for regular domestic commercial flights and for domestic pleasure craft and yachts to all islands of The Bahamas on June 8. The system announced today will replace the application and assessment process that was initially put in place to accommodate inter-island travel, effective immediately. Individuals traveling aboard pleasure craft and yachts leaving from a marina in New Providence, Grand Bahama or Bimini should submit travel and health forms before departing. If leaving from a private dock, individuals will be required to fill out and submit forms at the point of entry. The Ministries of Health and Tourism are reportedly developing a digital solution to help to further streamline this process. According to the statement, those who have already applied will receive travel authorization from the Ministry of Health by email prior to June 8. The reopening of regular commercial domestic travel is part of the broader opening of the economy and to accommodate hurricane season preparations. Commercial airlines are expected to start taking reservations tomorrow. “Passengers traveling from New Providence, Grand Bahama and Bimini by aircraft, mailboat or passenger ferry will be required to complete a standardized travel form and a standardized health form at the time of check-in,” read the statement. “These short forms will be used to collect contact information and a COVID-19 risk assessment for health officials.” The statement continued: “Airlines are working to ensure various protocols including, enhanced cleaning procedures for aircraft; ensuring that all staff utilize masks/facial coverings (PPE). Travelers are reminded that they must wear masks/facial coverings. “Operational procedures to ensure physical distancing on board the aircraft and during the boarding process will be implemented. Physical distancing will be enforced. It read: “The Airport Authority and Port Authority have developed various protocols for the reopening of domestic travel and will continue to make adjustments as necessary to improve systems. “Travelers should note that due to physical distancing protocols, the check-in process may take longer than usual. Please arrive early to check-in. It added: “As with other jurisdictions around the world, the reopening of domestic travel is an ongoing work in progress. Officials will continue to streamline and fine-tune the process. Officials will also continue to monitor the process and to adjust as necessary.”

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