Coronavirus (COVID-19) and travel: The situation around the world is changing dramatically. Various governments have changed their travel warnings to restrict travel during this time. To understand how this may impact cover under your policy, please go to our FAQs and select your country of residence.
For the latest travel warnings and alerts around the world, read about lockdowns and border restrictions.
The Bahamas is open to international tourism but flight availability is restricted and strict protocols are in place for travelers.
Effective May 1, 2021, international visitors traveling to The Bahamas from other countries who are fully vaccinated and have passed the two-week immunity period will be exempt from testing requirements for entry and inter-island travel. Proof of vaccination must be submitted via the Travel Health Visa portal.
Travelers who are not fully vaccinated will be required to follow all existing entry testing requirements including:
Travelers are required to opt-in to a health insurance which covers them for the duration of their stay. (Here's why getting additional travel insurance is a good idea.)
A public state of emergency is in place until at least May 2021. All residents and visitors must adhere to health and safety protocols on-island such as mask wearing, social distancing, and frequent hand washing. A curfew is in effect from 10pm to 5am for the islands of Grand Bahama, New Providence and Paradise Island (including Rose Island) and Abaco (excluding Green Turtle Cay, Grand Cay, Man-O-War Cay, and Elbow Cay). Travel rules and other restrictions are subject to change at short notice and are available on the Office of the Prime Minister's website.
A negative PCR test result and Travel Health Visa are required for inter-island travel from Abaco, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, Harbour Island, or New Providence. Effective April 23, 2021, Bahamian citizens and residents who are fully vaccinated – after receiving their second dose – will be exempt from COVID-19 testing requirements when travelling inter-island. Proof of vaccination must be submitted via the travel health visa portal.
Wearing a face mask in public spaces is mandatory, and all travelers must follow physical distancing of 6ft (2m).
The Bahamas is an archipelago with more than 700 islands and cays, spread over 100,000 square miles, which means conditions and instances of the virus can be different on each of the 16 islands available to welcome visitors. Travelers should continue to check the status of their island destination before travelling, by visiting Bahamas.com/travelupdates.
Hurricane Dorian struck the northern Bahamas on Sunday night as a slow-moving Category 5 storm, with winds of up to 200mph. The storm has caused widespread destruction and flooding in Grand Bahama and the Abacos Islands. An estimated 13,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed. Flooding conditions have also been reported in New Providence, which includes Nassau and Paradise Island, as well as Eleuthera, Andros, Exuma, Cat Island, and Long Island.
The full impact of the storm won't be known for days, and while the center of the hurricane has moved on, heavy winds, rain, and storm surge may continue in the region through today. Currently, the airports in Grand Bahama and Abaco are closed. Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau remains open, but travelers should expect significant cancellations and delays. Anyone planning to visit should check directly with airilines, hotels, and cruise lines regarding possible impacts to travel plans.
If you're in the area, please check with authorities, follow any official warnings, and listen to local news reports to monitor the situation. Failure to comply with directives from government authorities means you won't be covered by travel insurance. Also be aware: now that this is a known event, it is no longer possible to purchase travel insurance to cover it. To discuss your coverage, please contact us at World Nomads.
The absolutely best way to survive a hurricane is to avoid one. Get away from it, but if you make the decision to leave make that decision early. Do not leave it until the last minute because you may find yourself caught without proper shelter.
If you decide to stay and "ride it out" it is advisable to get to an authorized shelter. The locations of these will be broadcast, or locals will know where they are. If there is no shelter, prepare to "shelter in place" in an internal room without windows.
Once a "storm watch" has been issued, make sure you are prepared in the event that the watch becomes a "warning."
During the storm
After the storm
Now classified as a Category 5, Hurricane Irma made landfall Wednesday morning in the Eastern Caribbean and has been moving westward. The storm is expected to strike the southern Bahamas on Friday, with possible storm surges of 15-20 feet. A mandatory evacuation of islands in the hurricane's path is currently underway.
Travel warnings have been issued for Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, and Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, and Sint Maarten, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra, Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the northern border with Haiti, Guadeloupe, the Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The United States has declared states of emergency in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Aside from extremely strong winds, Hurricane Irma is likely to create a storm surge of 11 feet or more, and large, breaking waves. Heavy rains could cause life-threating flash floods and mudslides.
Be aware that now this is a named hurricane and emergencies have been declared in several places it may not be possible to purchase travel insurance to cover this event. To discuss your coverage please contact us at World Nomads.
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