The Bahamas


Author: Peter D. Maynard Counsels & Attorneys

peter.maynard@maynardlaw.com

https://www.linkedin.com/company/peter-d.-maynard-counsel-&-attorneys

Overview of legal measures as of May 14 2020 as response to the coronavirus. Please note: Due to the extraordinary situation, the legislation is in continuous evolution and may change very fast.



Introduction

The Commonwealth of The Bahamas is an independent, sovereign nation. It obtained its independence from Britain in 1973, and before that, was internally self governed for a considerable period. At the same time, The Bahamas is a member of the Commonwealth, and recognizes the Queen as its head of state, with her representative being the Governor General, who is appointed by The Bahamas Government.

The political independence of The Bahamas is considered one of its strengths, as an international financial centre, in contrast to the colonies, territories and dependencies elsewhere, which continue to be under the control of a metropolitan colonial power. Therefore, one does not have particularly to concern oneself with the consequences of membership of the European Union (EU) and other possible conflicts of interest, which arise because of the colonial power's control and international relations.

The Bahamas has been a well-established, highly respected and sophisticated, international financial centre for more than sixty years, built on the common law, political stability, tax neutrality, a thorough regulatory environment, a modern infrastructure, excellent communications, and proximity to North America and world markets. It is one of the oldest, continuous parliamentary democracies in the Western Hemisphere. Having been the landfall of Columbus in the New World in 1492, The Bahamas saw the permanent convening of its Parliament in 1729, after two centuries of colonial upheaval. Its courts and justice system are very highly regarded; they have applied the common law and developed a jurisprudence that has maintained the integrity of the nation's livelihood in financial services, which are the second most important economic sector.

The salubrious, year-round, good weather of this island paradise has traditionally attracted health seekers. The Bahamas not only has the reputation as a sanatorium, but also as a haven for the rich and famous. Ever since Edward Duke of Windsor was exiled as Governor of The Bahamas in the early 1940’s after his abdication from the British throne, The Bahamas has been the retreat of choice for celebrities and high net worth individuals.






1. INTERVENTIONS AND RESTRICTIONS

1.1 Legal basis

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1.2 Boder

Border

Consisting of 700 islands (35 of which are permanently inhabited) and 2,400 cays and rocks, extending in a south-easterly direction from Florida to Haiti. The archipelago covers some 233,000 square kilometres of the Atlantic Ocean, but have a total land area of 13,940 square kilometres, which is just a little smaller than the American state of Connecticut. Some of the islands are barely 65 kilometres from the United States or Cuba.


1.3 Visas

Visas

Generally, foreigners wishing to travel to The Bahamas for vacation or business may require a Visa for entry into the country. The below link provides information to help determine the visa requirements for your country. U.S. citizens are generally required to present a valid U.S. passport when traveling to The Bahamas, as well as proof of anticipated departure from The Bahamas. U.S. travelers coming for tourism will not need a visa for travel up to 90 days.

https://www.bahamas.gov.bs/wps/wcm/connect/bf838397-2677-410e-9987-87fa188e4966/Visa+Requirements+for+Visitors+Travelling+to+The+Bahamas1.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

However, as a result of Emergency Measures designed to combat the spread of COVID 19, the Government of The Bahamas, pursuant to certain Emergency Power Orders, (“EP”), imposed a ban on international travel to The Bahamas.

Pursuant to EP (Covid 19) (No.2) Order 2020, unless prior written permission is obtained from the Government to allow entry, all airports including private airports and fixed based operations shall be closed to international flights carrying any visitors. Additionally, all sea ports shall be closed to regional and international seafaring and private boating, and no visitor shall be permitted to enter or disembark for any reason including transiting through The Bahamas.



1.4 Export control

Export Control

Under EP (Covid 19) (No.2), outgoing flights or ships, cargo flights or ships, commercial courier and emergency medical flights, and emergency flights approved by the Civil Aviation Authority are excluded from the travel ban. As a result, export control is minimal.


1.5 Prohibition of crowds


Prohibition of Crowds

Pursuant to EP (Covid 19) (No.2), and EP (Covid 19) (Special Provisions) Order, 2020 no person shall host or attend:

i. A private party, which includes any person from outside of the immediate household of the occupant;

ii. A recreational or competitive sporting event;

iii. A wedding which hosts ten or more persons other than the bride, bridegroom, official witnesses and the marriage officer;

iv. A banquet, ball or reception,

v. Any social event;

vi. Any other ceremony of public worship in any facility or public place which involves the participation of any member of the general public or congregation

vii. A funeral, except ten members of the immediate family and at least one officiant and essential mortuary staff; or

viii. A meeting of a fraternal society, private or social club or civic association or organization;

ix. All public parks shall be closed; and

x. Occasional markets and public beaches are closed until the expiry of the said Orders


1.6 Lockdown

Lockdown

The Government of The Bahamas has drawn a distinction between curfews which apply during the week and lockdowns which apply on weekends.

Pursuant to EP (Covid 19) (No.2), there is a 24-hour curfew in place subject to certain exemptions for the businesses and undertakings set out below in the following section. On weekends there is a complete lockdown such that the majority of all exempted businesses and undertaking, with the exception of food stores and pharmacies being open for essential workers only from 6am to 6pm and until 3 pm on Saturdays respectively, are closed from 9pm on Friday evenings to 5am on Monday mornings.


1.7 Open Businesses, Industries and allowed Gatherings


1.8 Shareholder's meetings and other meetings of companies

For your information: In Switzerland, shareholder's meetings require physical presence. Due to COVID-19, it is not allowed to hold a company meeting with five or more people present. Maybe you have a similar issue in your jurisdiction? Or COVID-19 caused other problems to company meetings. If the title 1.7 does not fit to your country, you may change or delete it.

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1.9 Supply of essential medical goods

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1.10 Health care

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1.11 Persons with a higher risk

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1.12 Sanctions

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2. SUPPORT OF BUSINESSES

2.1 Legal basis

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2.2 Support measures

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3. SUPPORT OF THE JOBMARKET

3.1 Legal basis

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3.2 Support measures

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4. SUPPORT OF SPECIFIC SECTORS

4.1 Legal basis

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4.2 Support measures

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5. TENANCY AND LEASE

5.1 Legal basis

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5.2 Measures

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6. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

6.1 Legal basis

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6.2 Measures

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7. DEBT COLLECTION

7.1 Legal basis

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7.2 Measures

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8. MISCELLANEOUS

8.1 Legal basis

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8.2 Measures

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