Editor’s Note: Scroll down for more COVID-related news.
On Sunday, officials in the Bahamas announced that most international commercial flights will not be permitted to enter the country effective midnight Wednesday, July 22. Flights from the UK, EU and Canada will still be accepted.
Bahamasair has stopped outgoing flights to the US, but other commercial outbound flights are still permitted. Domestic travel is still permitted with a health visa.
Private and charter flights as well as yachts are still permitted in the Bahamas, with these restrictions:
All international and domestic flights and vessels — in our out — have been prohibited on Grand Bahama, except for emergency and essential purposes. Restaurant indoor dining is now prohibited but outdoor dining, curbside, takeaway and delivery is allowed. Grand Bahama also has a new curfew, 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. The 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew remains in effect on all other islands. All beaches and bars on Grand Bahamas are also closed.
UPDATE: July 16, 10 am
St. Lucia’s Marigot Bay Marina reopens
The official port of entry at Marigot Bay Marina on St. Lucia reopened yesterday after more than three months of closure in the face of COVID-19. The marina had closed on March 27 as island authorities locked down borders to prevent the spread of the virus.
Since then, staff at the marina have worked with the Ministry of Health and the Immigration and Customs Department to implement over 100 new operational and hygiene protocols to safeguard the health of both visitors and island residents.
Customs officers resumed their services yesterday, while the Immigration Department and the St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority office is also fully operational and includes a new port health office with a full-time representative. A new nursing station has also opened to receive patients as the need arises.
“As we look forward to the future of yachting and cruising, we have implemented full-scale enhancements to our already stringent quality controls and health and safety measures,” marina manager Troy Blanchard said. “We have embarked on our newly activated CASE program (Clean and Sanitize Everything), which provides ongoing, real-time guidance on the safety and well-being of associates and guests in the evolving COVID-19 world and beyond.”
The summer season is looking to be a robust one for the marina with a number of yachts and catamarans booked on berths from today through to the early autumn. Visiting yachts will still be able to enjoy high speed refueling, boat maintenance and cleaning, and provisioning services with just a few changes in how these services are delivered.
For now, restaurants in the bay remain closed, however, yacht-based visitors will be able to take advantage of “In Boat” room service-style dining delivered to their yachts when ordered in advance.
Marigot Bay Resort’s upper swimming pool is also open to marina guests as are the shower and bathroom facilities in the Marina Village.
“We will continue to work towards providing the best service possible while at the same time ensuring the safety of our boaters and associates,” Blanchard said.
Current guidelines divide visiting yachts into two distinct categories:
1. Yachts traveling from within the “Travel Bubble”. These destinations currently include most other islands in the Caribbean. These vessels are exempt from quarantine requirements.
2. Yachts traveling from outside the “Travel Bubble”. Passengers on these vessels must present a negative PCR test within seven days of arrival and quarantine for 14 days, either onboard if at anchor or in designated accommodations ashore if at the dock.
Marigot Bay Marina can accommodate yachts up to 280 feet (85m). For more information, visit www.marigotbayresort.com/marina.
UPDATE: June 22, 2020, 11:45 am
St. Vincent reopens for yachts, guests
The Ministry of National Security for St. Vincent and the Grenadines has released official protocols for yachts and guests who arrive by air.
As of June 22, yachts must request entry via cornavirustaskforcesvg @gmail.com, and either show a recent COVID-19 test or have one done on arrival. They must quarantine onboard until the results are available. Once negative, the yacht and its crew and guests can move around the islands.
SVG’s yacht protocols indicate an online risk assessment form must be completed, but it “does not seem to exist yet,” according to Heather Grant, managing director of Erika’s yacht agency. “It is best if yachts contact us and we will guide them accordingly.”
Guests or owners arriving by air must have a negative COVID-19 test with them, and can immediately join the yacht. No quarantine is required.
UPDATE: June 16, 10:45 am
Maldives eases lockdown for yachts
The Maldives has announced an ease in lockdown restrictions starting June 29, and an official news release is expected soon, reports Mohamed Hameed, Asia Pacific Superyachts director in the Maldives.
“We are now able to obtain permission to land private jets to Male’ Ibrahim Nasir International Airport with the guests, and yacht entry to the Maldives,” he stated in an announcement sent to clients and media. “Yachts can visit private deserted Islands as we can arrange cruising within the atolls and all can enjoy normal yachting activities along with visiting resort islands and village inhabited islands.
“There will be health guidelines to follow until a vaccine is available, and these releases may change at any time, depending on the situation and the virus spread in the community,” he said.
As a stop-over for yachts bound for either the Red Sea or en route via the Cape of Good Hope, the Maldives has reduced in April the fees required to enter the country.
The Maldives is made up of 26 atolls and lies in a north/south chain in the Arabian Sea in the Indian Ocean, lying southwest of Sri Lanka and India and about 620 miles from the Asian continent.
UPDATE: June 14, 5:40 pm
Tahiti to reopen July 15
French Polynesia has recently announced that its borders will re-open to international tourism July 15. Quarantine measures will also be completely lifted.
There are entrance and vacation protocols, however, including a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before departure to French Polynesia and random tests four days after arrival.
The country has had no active cases of COVID-19 since May 29.
For more on the COVID protocols, click here.
UPDATE: June 10, 8:15 am
Montenegro ends quaratine for some arriving yachts
With no new cases of COVID-19 in the past 28 days, the government of Montenegro has relaxed precautionary measures on international maritime traffic.
Anyone arriving by yacht from a country with less than 25 people infected on 100,000 inhabitants can now enter Montenegro without the quarantine period, according to a statement from Porto Montenegro, a superyacht marina in the region.
Included among those countries, as of June 3, are: Monaco, Croatia, Greece, Israel, Seychelles, Australia and New Zealand, Bahamas, Cuba, and various islands in the Caribbean, including Antigua and Barbuda.
All businesses and services are now open and fully functioning. Port Montenegro has implemented several safety procedures, including COVID-19 testing for clients and staff, luggage disinfection for marina and hotel guests, and daily hygiene maintenance.
UPDATE: June 6, 11:30 am
Boats welcome back to Bahamas June 15
The next phase of reopening of the Bahamas begins June 15, and with it the private boats and airplanes that the tourism sector has been missing.
After June 15, there will no longer be a need to quarantine, but the following requirements will be in place:
For the full list of requirements, see the Association of Bahamas Marinas website.
According to the announcement this past week from Bahamas, there will be other requirements in place in the country. Those include:
Also, during this phase, commercial airlines will be allowed to bring in Bahamian citizens, legal residents, home-owners qualifying for economic permanent residency, or the immediate family members or significant others of any of these groups. All international tourism — including commercial air service, hotels and taxi service — is expected to resume on July 1, phase 2 of the country’s reopening plan.
At airports and seaports, temperature screenings for all incoming visitors will be conducted by healthcare personnel. Travelers will be required to wear a face mask in any situation where it is necessary to enforce physical distancing guidelines, such as when entering and transiting air and sea terminals, while navigating security and customs screenings, and at baggage claim.
Taxis and independent cars can only carry 50% of their maximum passenger ability (sedans can carry up to two people; SUVs up to four) and passengers should not ride in the front seat. All should wear face masks.
Click here to read the full Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan.
UPDATE: May 26, 8 a.m.
Spain to end quarantine for visitors July 1
Spain announced yesterday that beginning July 1 it will no longer require visitors from overseas to self-quarantine for 14 days.
A government spokesman indicated during a press conference that Spain would seek international consensus on the free movement of travelers “at least” from countries that visit most, including France, the United Kingdom and Germany.
UPDATE: May 18, 7:30 a.m.
Greece outlines guidelines for yachts
The Greek Maritime Ministry on Friday posted the following protocols for private yachts. The measures take effect today and expire Monday, June 15. Greece’s sailing ban on private pleasure boats arriving from abroad and entering its ports has been lifted today. Travel to all of the Greek islands is expected to be allowed as of Monday, May 25.
“Step by step we are planning the next day of ferry transport, with rules and guidelines aimed at protecting the health of passengers and crews of ships as much as possible, as well as public health on each Greek island. The further lifting of restrictions on ferry travel will be constantly monitored and solely depends on ourselves and our compliance with the measures,” Greek Maritime Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis said.
The ministry also created protocols for coastal shopping vessels, including ferries. For more information, read the rules here.
UPDATE: May 15, 3 p.m.
Rules in place for citizens, homeowners to return to Bahamas
Fort Lauderdale-based Tropic Ocean Airways, which operates regular and charter flights to the Bahamas, shared information from the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority this week that outlines requirements for Bahamian citizens, residents, and homeowners to travel to the Bahamas.
The guidelines are designed for those who wish to return to the Bahamas and stay, as it requires a quarantine upon entry. Anyone who is a Bahamian citizen or homeowner must have the following to enter:
“The Bahamas have been very smart and attentive to the safety of their residents,” Tropic Ocean Airways stated in a notice to its customers. “We are following any and all requirements to ensure our flights meet their regulations and openly communicate with Bahamas leadership daily.”
For more information, contact Capt. Charles Beneby, director general of the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at +1 242-823-5488.
UPDATE: May 15, 7:30 a.m.
Bimini to start two-week lockdown on Monday
Bimini will begin a two-week lockdown beginning Monday at 9 p.m. and extending through May 30 at midnight.
Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced the latest measure yesterday after Bimini reported two new cases of the coronavirus, making the island the country’s second hottest spot after New Providence. The entire country of the Bahamas is under 24-hour curfew, with lockdowns every weekend.
“This measure is absolutely necessary in order to save and to protect the lives of the residents of Bimini,” Minnis said in a televised statement. “Epidemiological management of the COVID-19 outbreak in Bimini requires strict adherence to shelter in place to prevent and to control the spread, which will worsen if preventative measures are not taken quickly and adhered to.”
According to news reports, there were 96 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Bahamas as of Wednesday, 74 in New Providence, 13 on Bimini, eight in Grand Bahama and one in Cat Cay.
UPDATE: May 14, 5:54 p.m.
Rest of South Florida to begin reopening on Monday
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced today that Miami-Dade County and Broward County, which holds Fort Lauderdale, can begin their phased reopenings beginning Monday.
That means non-essential businesses such as stores, restaurants and hair salons can reopen while providing social distancing and other COVID protocols. Restaurants will be able to open to 50% capacity, twice the limits placed on other parts of Florida, which were restricted to 25% capacity in phase 1. Beaches, bars and gyms remain closed.
UPDATE: May 9, 8:50 a.m.
Palm Beach begins reopening on Monday
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has agreed to let Palm Beach County begin its reopening starting on Monday. That means restaurants can open to 25% capacity plus outside seating, and hair salons and other personal care businesses can reopen using distancing guidelines and protective measures. Bars, gyms and beaches remain closed.
Broward County, which includes Fort Lauderdale, and Miami-Dade County remain closed down except for essential businesses. In the press conference yesterday, Gov. DeSantis said they might begin reopening by May 18.
Palm Beach County beaches likely will reopen on May 18, county Mayor Dave Kerner said during the press conference.
UPDATE: May 3, 6 a.m.
CBP Boston temporarily closes small boat reporting locations
U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s field office in Boston has temporarily closed small boat reporting locations throughout New England. According to a CBP statement, “We are assisting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in implementing [its] authority under Title 42, U.S. Code 265, in accordance with existing Title 8 authority and prohibiting the entry of certain persons into the United States.”
The CBP statement was released April 27. On April 22, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order that bars some immigration into the United States for 60 days.
According to the CBP Boston field office, “Effective immediately, small boating locations are temporarily closed for all CBP private vessel processing, including the use of ROAM until further notice.” The statement also “reminds travelers that routine private vessel travel for pleasure is non-essential.”
UPDATE: May 2, 3:30 pm
French Polynesia begins to open
While non-residents of French Polynesia are still not permitted entry, retailers, restaurants and beaches are now allowed to open, provided social distancing guidelines are respected, according to an update from Tahiti Tourisme. Bars, clubs, theaters and sports venues remain closed.
Maritime and air travel between the islands is still prohibited in order to ensure active surveillance and control of the epidemic. However, access is possible between Tahiti and Moorea. The current curfew has been shifted from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Detailed information is available on Tahiti Tourisme’s website and updated regularly.
UPDATE: April 15, 1:13pm
Bahamas releases COVID-related yacht protocols
The government of The Bahamas has released official COVID-19-related protocols for all boats in the waters of The Bahamas. The protocols apply to “all boats, yachts, private craft, and recreational craft (‘boats’) including boats for hire for such purposes, that are (a) cruising in, plying the waters of, or sheltering in The Bahamas; (b) intending to visit or depart from The Bahamas; or (c) intending to transit The Territorial Waters of The Bahamas (the ‘boat protocols’).”
In general, no boats can enter Bahamian waters without prior written permission until further notice (request permission at email@example.com).
All foreign boats must identify themselves to the Designated Government Contacts (DGC) (Cmdr. Berne Wright, port controller, firstname.lastname@example.org; and Capt. Dwain E. Hutchinson, director of The Bahamas Maritime Authority, email@example.com). Identification includes name, description, location and contact details of the boat; date entered and any movements within The Bahamas; names, nationalities and designation (crew, passenger) of the people on board; and the medical condition of all on board.
Foreign boats are encouraged to depart the Bahamas and may do so, weather and safe navigation permitting. Those boats must proceed directly and non-stop to its destination or home port outside The Bahamas. Any foreign boat unable to depart directly and non-stop shall notify the DGC with an alternative plan.
Foreign boats that remain in Bahamian waters must comply with the following restrictions: shelter-in-place where they are, avoid contact with people ashore, order provisions (including fuel) by telephone and accept without contact, no travel from one island to another, no taking on of passengers or visitors, and no “boating, cruising, fishing, day trips or other movement of any kind”.
To read the full protocols, click here.
In addition to the government-issued protocols, The Bahamas Safe Passage Home and Sea Quarantine has been established by the Association of Bahamas Marinas as a way to help boats either remain moored or leave Bahamian waters safely while minimizing the risk of spreading the virus throughout the islands. The program will be in effect until normal border travel is restored. The program exists within the guidelines of the curfew order. Service will not be offered on days where a total shutdown has been ordered.
The following participating marinas are available and open to accept vessels provided arrangements have been made prior to arrival. The program also applies to those crossing through Bahamian waters in order to get back to their country of origin (Right of Innocent Passage). Pre-approval must be granted.
For more information, post questions on The Bahamas, Land & Sea Facebook group page.
UPDATE: April 8, 2:30 p.m.
Yachts in Bahamas can depart before next lockdown starts tonight
The U.S. Embassy in Nassau, Bahamas, posted the following on Facebook last night regarding private vessels:
“Under the current 24-hour curfew emergency orders, now extended until April 30, all domestic inter-island traffic by air or boat within The Bahamas remains temporarily banned.
“The emergency orders will, however, allow foreign pleasure craft currently anchored or moored in The Bahamas to depart DIRECTLY FOR THEIR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN, making only the absolute minimum necessary stops in order to ensure safe passage.
“Vessels returning to the United States are permitted to re-fuel at fuel docks, but ARE PROHIBITED FROM DISEMBARKING ANY CREW OR PASSENGERS. All private vessels departing The Bahamas must do so expeditiously, with minimal stops or delays.
“Please note that vessels will NOT BE ABLE TO RE-FUEL or make use of fuel docks DURING THE FULL LOCKDOWN PERIODS the Prime Minister of The Bahamas announced on April 6 (see below for details). Vessels can still transit through Bahamian waters on a direct route back to the United States, but cannot re-fuel.
“We urge any and all U.S. citizens on private vessels to return to the United States as soon as possible, ESPECIALLY BEFORE THE NEXT FULL LOCKDOWN period begins at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8. Do not wait; the time to leave is now. Depart as soon as weather and provisions allow you to do so safely, or be prepared to remain in The Bahamas for an indefinite period of time.
“It bears repeating: restrictions to movement in The Bahamas continue to evolve rapidly, and WE CANNOT PREDICT if, when, for how long, or HOW SEVERELY MOVEMENT through The Bahamas MAY BE RESTRICTED further. In every instance, all vessels must follow the directions of the Bahamian authorities.
“FULL LOCKDOWN SCHEDULE (when vessels can still move directly towards the US, but cannot re-fuel):
“Once more, private vessels departing The Bahamas must avoid any unnecessary deviation on the way to their final destination. Crew and passengers are PROHIBITED FROM DISEMBARKING and MUST REMAIN ABOARD their vessel. The emergency orders only allow stop-offs for re-fueling or to receive provisions essential for safe transit, such as food and water, outside the full lockdown periods noted above.”
UPDATE: April 6, 4 p.m.
Although the previous lockdown across the Bahamas expired at 5 a.m. this morning, Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis advised parliament today that another would begin on Wednesday. In part, he said:
“A complete lockdown will again be implemented effective Wednesday, the 8th of April, at 9 p.m. and will end at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, the 14th of April. At the end of that lockdown period, the 24-hour curfew will again resume.
“A shutdown will occur each weekend beginning 9 p.m. on Fridays and ending 5 a.m. on Mondays. During this shutdown, all services are prohibited, with the exception as follows:
“The lockdown means you may not leave the confines of your property, for any reason, unless there is an emergency or unless you are working in an entity which will be specifically named, or identified by the function being performed, in the Lockdown Order.
“This means you may not leave your property to exercise, even if it is in your immediate neighborhood. You must stay at home or in your own yard.”
Later in the statement, the prime minister said: “Protocols for yachts and other pleasure craft are being developed. The main purpose of which is to encourage as many of ‘these people’ already within Bahamian territorial waters to return to their countries of origin for the duration of the pandemic.” To read the full statement, click here.
UPDATE: March 29
AYSS Superyacht Global Network has compiled a website intended to help share updates regarding ports and yacht agents globally during the COVID-19/Coronavirus outbreak.
UPDATE: March 27, 2:45 p.m.
As governments around the world attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, many have issued restrictions and guidelines. As details continue to change, here is a list of the latest with links to follow official sources for clarification and information.
Maritime movement in the internal and territorial waters of the French Mediterranean Sea are prohibited due to effects of COVID-19, according to local governments.
The following classes of vessels are authorized in French of “Arrêté préfectoral N°037/2020 du 20 mars 2020” from Préfet Maritime Méditerranée:
These ships are also authorized to anchor in compliance with the regulations in force.
Antigua and Barbuda
The government of Antigua and Barbuda banned inbound commercial traffic from North America and Europe until April 9 in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, effective March 26. And any foreign national who has visited the United States, Canada, or European within the previous 28 days will be denied entry. For more information, visit https://ab.gov.ag/
The government of the U.S. Virgin Islands has restricted activity to essential services until April 6.
The Virgin Islands Port Authority is open. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Seaborne and Cape Air have reduced schedules or have canceled flights to and from St. Thomas. No airline cancellations have been reported for St. Croix. All three car ferry companies operating between St. John and St. Thomas are operating on modified ferry service schedules and inter-island passenger ferries are operating as normal, but with reduced passenger capacity. The QE IV ferry, which services the St. Croix-St. Thomas route, has halted operations until further notice.
The Edward Blyden Terminal closed operations on March 25 until further notice. Customs services will be available at the Blyden Terminal from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
Cargo operations in the territory will continue as normal. The V.I. Port Authority reminds the public that all its seaports and mariners operate under the rules and regulations set by the U.S. Coast Guard.For more information, visit https://www.vi.gov/.
ORIGINAL POST: March 26, 4:12 p.m.
As governments around the world attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, many have issued restrictions and guidelines. As details continue to change, here is a list of the latest with links to follow official sources for clarification and information.
The government of Sint Maarten has closed its territorial waters to foreign vessels as of March 24. Travel restrictions for shippers and mariners include megayachts, pleasure vessels, passenger vessels, and sailing yachts.
Vessels are no longer allowed in Simpson Bay Lagoon to conduct fuel bunkering and provisioning activities, according to Prime Minister Hon. Silveria Jacobs, chairman of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Such activities are allowed “where the vessel is already docked at a facility that provides such at a marina or docking location.”
The government site cites non-compliance as the impetus for the rule.
“It was brought to the attention of the EOC on Tuesday that procedures were not being followed in accordance to the directives that were stated before in order to protect the external borders of the country,” according to the declaration. “Due to the non-compliance, vessels who require fuel bunkering and food provisioning will have to do this at Port St. Maarten, which has a sterile port protocol in place.”
Vessel agents and marinas remain responsible for providing shore support to vessels while ensuring that crew and/or staff adhere to the current government COVID-19 restrictions. Following are several points from the recent regulations:
All crew members and captains that are allowed entry as a result of the exemptions and the crew of all vessels that are currently anchored in bays or docked at any of the local marinas on island “are requested to remain onboard of their vessels for the duration of the travel restrictions that are currently in place for both air and sea travel. Shore leave is prohibited. Local vessel agents and other support services will remain responsible for providing shore support to vessels that choose to remain anchored or docked in the waters of Sint Maarten. They are asked to ensure that their clients and the relevant crew comply with the above-listed conditions.”
Vessel operators are reminded to contact the officials via the emergency number 914 or VHF Channel 16 if any crew members or people on board their vessel are experiencing flu-like symptoms. Vessels are required to submit a copy of their Maritime Health Declaration 48 hours prior to their arrival to the department of Collective and Prevention Services.
All sea ports are closed to “regional and international seafaring and private boating” and no visitors are permitted to enter the Bahamas by international flights, or to disembark for any reason including transiting through The Bahamas, according to an emergency order issued by the government of the Bahamas, as of March 24.
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation is following guidance from the Bahamas Ministry of Health and other government agencies pertaining to the country’s Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19. At this time, there are four confirmed cases of coronavirus isolated in quarantine in Nassau.
The exclusions are set to expire at 9 a.m. on March 31, unless otherwise stated.