Say goodbye to those vacay plans to paradise. The Bahamas will restrict U.S. travel to its islands officially this week. The decision comes after Florida sees a continual spike in the novel coronavirus.

The region has announced that starting Wednesday, July 22, U.S. flights will be banned from the island nation due to COVID-19 concerns. This means all U.S commercial flights to the region and cruises en route to Grand Bahama will cease operations and be turned away.

Bahamasair, the nation's airline, didn't wait until Wednesday, choosing to start canceling its outgoing flights immediately.

South Florida has seen a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases over the past month, prompting worry that the region and the state have become an epicenter for the virus.

The United States is the only country barred at this time. Tourists from Canada, the U.K., and the European Union are still welcome to the islands, granted they test negative for COVID-19 for 10 days upon their arrival.

The Bahamas just recently reopened to visitors after staying shut for nearly three months. However, the reopening to international tourists has brought a resurgence of the virus to the island nation.

According to Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, the situation on the islands has been growing at an "exponential rate," which forced the leader to reimposed restrictions on who can vacation on the islands.

Grand Bahama has been the hardest hit in COVID-19's resurgence, recording 31 new cases since July 1.

 

Bahamasair, which services South Florida's major airports, has ceased all outbound flights to and from the islands; and with cruise lines all but halted due to the pandemic, the islands are effectively cut off from the Sunshine State. 

Social media users have tweeted their embarrassment of being banned from the Bahamas. "The US passport used to be the most valuable passport in the world but now we can't even go to the Bahamas," tweeted Bruce Heyman, a former U.S. Ambassador to Canada. 

 

The ban is meant to be temporary until the pandemic gets under control. 

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