The Bahamas’ coronavirus (COVID-19) admission protocols should be relaxed, according to Tourism Minister Chester Cooper.
Cooper, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, told reporters today that this is something that would be discussed at today’s cabinet meeting.
“This is how things are going in the world.” I was in London the other day, and there are practically no more mandatory protocols. And we’re seeing a lot of countries go in that direction,” he continued.
On Sunday, the US dropped its requirement that international visitors show a negative COVID-19 test before entering the country.
Cooper praised the development, saying it was not unexpected and will boost the Bahamas’ tourism industry.
The Bahamas is already being pushed to follow in the footsteps of the United States by tour operators.
“The less friction there is for tourists arriving to or returning from our beaches, the better for our tourism figures,” he said.
Cooper stated that whichever decision is made, it will attempt to strike a balance between preventing new COVID-19 infections and what is best for the economy.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Dr. Michael Darville indicated that the current fifth wave’s dropping COVID-19 levels have allowed the Emergency Operation Centre team to explore eliminating the testing requirement.
Darville stated that the mask requirement will have to be maintained for the time being.
“Many Caribbean countries would have repealed the mask mandate only to reinstate it.” We’re going to take a close look at that because it’s a critical tool, and we don’t want to disrupt services or enterprises. So we need to have something in our arsenal to help us if we find ourselves in a location where there are virus clusters,” he said.