We’re back! Well, as much as we can be at the moment anyway. Juliet resumed limited charters with max capacity of 10 people on board – including crew – on June 6 to the Florida Keys, and it was nice to be back out on the water again. The following three charters followed suit with small groups, limited crew, and more Florida Keys – thank goodness the weather was gorgeous, we never get that lucky on regularly-scheduled Keys charters! We thought we might be able to squeak out a trip to the Bahamas when they announced their soft opening June 15, but the testing requirements were logistically not feasible in the time frame we were given. And we were hoping that their official reopening on July 1 would yield an easier window…
But the official word from the Bahamas is that the borders are open and they are excited to welcome tourists again, but until further notice, they will be requiring negative COVID tests to enter the country. All travelers are required to have a negative COVID-19 PCR swab test taken within 10 days of travel, and results digitally submitted to the Ministry of Health to obtain a travel visa. We had our first successful Bahamas entry on July 5 so we can attest that it is doable, and it is so good to be back.
Logically you might question that timeline – so the test was negative on day 7, but what if you then are exposed 5 days out, what then? No, it’s not perfect, far from it. But it is the best the Bahamas can do right now to try to jump start their tourism-reliant economy while trying to protect their citizens from folks coming from areas that have wide-spread COVID-19 community transmission. It is more of a hurdle than a fail-safe, discouraging an unrestricted mass-exodus from the nearby states in the US. If someone does come down with a serious case of COVID-19 while in the Bahamas or transmits it to someone who lives there… their medical system cannot handle a major outbreak. If you’re feeling symptomatic, do not travel.
Yes, we all need a break, but not at the expense of Bahamian citizens’ health and well-being. And even though we as a group on Juliet do not touch land, the captain does, and the captain interacts with all passengers and crew before doing so. So this testing requirement does include us. If you are booked with us on a trip this summer, assume that this testing procedure will be our New Normal until told otherwise. Look into how and where you can get tested, what the turn-around time is for results, and plan accordingly. You will receive detailed information 2 weeks prior to your trip’s departure. If this process is not feasible for you, please reach out to the office and we’ll chat about options.
There may be weeks this summer that we are scheduled to head to the Bahamas and cannot due to local testing procedures, results taking longer than 7 days in some parts of the country, or some counties not allowing asymptomatic testing to not drain local resources. Those weeks we might get rerouted to the Keys again. We’ll do our best to get you away, wherever that may be. We’re being as flexible as we can, and we appreciate your patience while we navigate this new ocean. And of course, this is all subject to change – thanks for bearing with us!