Vaccinated Americans Can Start Flying To The Bahamas Without A Negative COVID Test

CBS4's Hank Tester reports Makers Air says their nine scheduled daily flights to the Bahamas are in high demand. Read more: https://cbsloc.al/3eTa1LR

Video Transcript

- Now, to our continuing series of reports Pivoting in a Pandemic. Thanks to the vaccine, Americans are now more on the move. And that's good news for South Floridians looking to lose themselves on a secluded Beach in the Bahamas. A local charter airline says business is better than ever for a quick hop across the Gulf Stream. CBS4's Hank Tester has a closer look.

HANK TESTER: Americans are flying again. 1.6 million TSA screened this past weekend, a new high for the pandemic though still 35% below normal for this time of year. The major airline's packed.

- We only have one empty seat, seats nine we got eight.

HANK TESTER: The same for many charter operations like Maker's Air, Fort Lauderdale, nine scheduled flights daily to the Bahamas. Sand, water, sun, outdoors, it's in high demand.

SARAH SWAINSON: I think that people are enthusiastic. They want to travel. They want to experience, they want to get back to living and having those having those memories made.

HANK TESTER: And a nice break for charter and small scheduled airlines who serve the Bahamas. The Island nation has made a pivot, made it easier to handle the COVID test entry issue.

SARAH SWAINSON: Officially May 1st, everything has changed even for the better, and you can actually use your vaccination card to enter the Bahamas test free.

HANK TESTER: Upload your vaccination card to the Bahamas website, and when cleared, you're set to travel. Not vaccinated? You have to present the results of a negative PCR test taken within five days before arrival to enter the Bahamas. That's the old system, which was established early on.

SARAH SWAINSON: The roll out that the Bahamas did initially, has allowed us to pivot more quickly with the changes that have come. The CDC does still require anybody over the age of two to have a test to come back to the US.

HANK TESTER: Most Caribbean resorts, including the Bahamas, have the ability and service on-site to provide the rapid COVID test that will be needed to get you back into the USA. Government restrictions, both US and foreign, limiting international travel. But air travel to the Bahamas has been worked out to the advantage of the travelers, the air services, and the Bahamas economy. So if you're vaccinated for two weeks or more.

SARAH SWAINSON: Once you have your approved travel health visa, on your check in here at Maker's Air, we look for your passport and your Bahamas travel health visa, and as long as those are approved, we are proud to board you.

HANK TESTER: Traveling to the Bahamas and want the official word on how to get the OK with your vaccination completed, fees do apply. Go to our website, cbsmiami, all the information's right there. Hank Tester, CBS4 News.