Reopening After COVID-19
2020 has been a unique year no matter where on the earth you find yourself. Corona, the most recent mutation of the COVID virus, has changed the landscape of our world. People in all corners of the globe have found themselves either in self or government-mandated quarantines. This has meant that many people transitioned to working from home and have had to cancel travel plans and large gatherings. It has been a difficult change for many but there have been positive ramifications as well. Businesses have learned to adapt in creative ways and witnessed the power of web-based communications. People have connected with their home environments and discovered their own abilities to bake bread. The natural environment has taken this as an opportunity to heal and we have seen wildlife return to unlikely places.
Here in the Bahamas, the government took the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. As an archipelago, it’s spread to the smaller islands could imply real health-system complications. Also, as a small nation, contact tracing and strict confinement have been possible and successful. Finally, the Bahamas is a country whose economy relies on tourism. The outbreak has meant a real hit to the tourism economy putting a large number of Bahamians out of work indefinitely. Once again the strength of this community has shown through! Natives of the Bahamas have worked together. They have followed government regulations and hope to survive this time with minimal lives lost.
How Has the Bahamian COVID-19 Experience Been?
On April 22, the island nation of the Bahamas closed all sea and airports and began a 24-hour-a-day, full lockdown. Exceptions to this were made on a designated, weekday schedule. This scheduled allowed people to go out at specifically allotted times to complete essential tasks. This was paired with close contact tracing and strict quarantine of all individuals with positive test results. These measures were a collective effort on behalf of the Bahamian population and many social agencies.
In June, with the number of daily infections on the decline, the Caribbean nation entered phase three of a reopening plan. At this point, and through to the end of June, sea and airports remain closed and the general quarantine continues. Some nonessential businesses and limited inter-island travel have been given the green light to resume. On June 11th, Dr. Nikkiah Forbes, the Bahamas National HIV/AIDS, and Infectious Disease Programme Director, stated, “we have flattened the curve.” This is fantastic news and was a ray of hope for many that some semblance of a tourist season might return, sooner rather than later.
To date, there have been 103 cases of COVID-19 in the Bahamas, with 11 deaths. Furthermore, contagion has been centered on a limited number of islands; Grand Bahama (8), New Providence (81), Cat Cay (1), and Island Bimini (13). As of now, 67 Corona positive people have recovered from the virus, while 25 remain hospitalized. Overall, these numbers are positive. Yet, as the nation awaits the return of tourism for economic reasons, they are hoping that it will be reintroduced in a responsible manner. A second wave is probable but how bad it will be will depend on how people act in the coming weeks and months as the nation begins to open again. This includes how people travel to and from the islands and how they act on their vacations.
Please do consider putting tourist dollars back into an economy that needs them. While you do so, there are some safety precautions we would love for you to keep in mind. First, commercial planes and airports were one of the primary breeding grounds for the virus. If you’re able to elect to fly with a private airline, like Tropix Air, this will reduce your risk, as you resume movement between Florida and the Bahamas.
Tropix departs and lands at fixed base operations. These private facilities allow you to skip the lines and hassle of commercial travel. They also are much more practical locations to practice social distancing. Shielded from the inevitable crowds of commercial airports, you can embark and disembark the aircraft with peace of mind. Business travelers, essential workers, hospitality managers, and hospital staff can be assured that they will arrive at their destinations on time without the stress of Corona-related travel delays. Finally, above all else, it is recommended that at-risk demographics opt for private flights. These populations include older adults and those with severe medical conditions. This ensures that they will, in fact, be able to maintain safe practices and get to their destinations with a much lower risk of contagion.
To allow for greater flexibility during these uncertain times, Tropix Air has made some changes. Tropix Air now offers half-leg flights. This means potential discounts on regular charter flights. When taking a charter flight you can rest assured that you will know everyone traveling on the plane with you. Charter flights are the safest travel option in our current context. Tropix Air is committed to providing this service to those who need it (and their pets), as we have always done, as soon as travel bands are lifted.
The safety of both our passengers and our airline staff are of our utmost importance. We encourage all persons boarding our aircraft, or traveling anywhere, to follow Corona safety procedures. This means wearing a mask whenever in public and ensuring that it is securely placed over your mouth and nose. This also means diligent handwashing, using the proper technique of at least 20 seconds of lathering with soap and water. In our modern context, these simple actions can mean the difference between life and death.
If you or anyone you have been in contact with for the past two weeks is showing Corona symptoms, please do not fly and get tested! Persistent testing and being alert to symptoms is a moral imperative as the world cautiously reopens its doors. We all want to regain our freedom of movement and commerce. To do so, we all need to follow the precautions as they have been outlined for us by the scientific community. These steps are our surest hope towards preventing a second wave and regaining our Bahamian vacations.