24-HOUR LOCKDOWN: PM announces border shutdown, expanded COVID-19 emergency powers

24-HOUR LOCKDOWN: PM announces border shutdown, expanded COVID-19 emergency powers
Hubert MInnis
  • All airports, private shall be closed to intl. flights

  • All seaports closed to regional and intl. seafaring and private boats

  • No visitor permitted to enter or disembark

  • All public beaches, roads closed

NASSAU, BAHAMAS —Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced a 24-hour curfew and border shutdown among additional measures that expand emergency powers regulations introduced last week to prevent the local spread of COVID-19.

Minnis unveiled a ‘shelter in place’ order that will effect the closure of roads to non-essential travel, and a total restriction on social activities tomorrow at 9am.

He said many Bahamians were not taking the global pandemic, which he called “an enemy to our livelihood”, seriously enough.

All airports, sea ports are closed to incoming regional or international traffic or visitors.

Public beaches and markets like the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay and Potters Cay Dock have been closed.

In an impassioned plea for Bahamians to heed advisories, Minnis said: “None of us are invincible.”

“Our personal and collective behavior is the best way to fight this threat,” he continued.

“Do not invite people over to your homes to socialize. Do not hang out with friends. Do not have house parties. If you do not heed the warnings, you could catch this virus.

“It could kill you,” Minnis said.

“You could spread it to your friends and families and it could kill them too.”

The new measures will remain in effect until March 31, unless extended.

There are four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. As of Sunday, the national lab had tested some 117 people.

“While the emergency orders are difficult for some, it is better to do what we need to do now, rather than paying a greater and heavier price later,” Minnis said during his national address.

“As a small island nation we cannot afford to lose 800 individuals on any one given day. It is essential we adhere to the measures being implemented tomorrow.”

He was referring to the death toll in Europe – where the worst hit countries have reported as many as 800 deaths in one day.

“In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID 19, every person shall remain confined to their place of residence (inclusive of their yard space) to avoid contact outside of their family except essential workers and travel.”

Minnis said restrictions did not apply to outgoing cargo flights or commercial cargo flights, or emergency medical flights, or emergency flights approved by Civil Aviation.

Visits to doctor, grocery store, bank, pharmacy or to refuel are considered essential travel.

“For outdoor exercise, whether alone or together with family members living under the same roof, not exceeding an hour and a half per day between the hours of 5:00 a.m. to 9 p.m. Provided that such person must ensure at all times to distance himself at least six feet (6ft.) from any such person.”

An ‘essential worker” includes: Royal Bahamas Police Force, Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Fire Services, Department of Correctional Services, National insurance Board, Department of Social Services, Department of Environmental Health Services: Department of Immigration; Customs Department, waste and sanitation companies; any hospital, health care or medical facility.

Essential workers also include: essential officers of any water, electricity or other sector encompassing the provision of electronic communications including print and electronic media.

All establishments open during this time are mandated to ensure that all customers and staff maintain physical distancing of no less than six feet in or outside their business.

The number of persons permitted in the establishment at any one time is one person for every thirty square feet of store space, Minnis said.

All establishments are required to set up distance markers to indicate social distancing at check out lines and outside the building, within 24 hours of the order.

“Let me note that supermarkets will be encouraged to designate a specific shopping time for seniors, from 9am to 11am daily,” Minnis said.

“Owners will also be strongly encouraged to enforce physical distancing inside and outside their establishments.”

Minnis announced a National Day of Prayer and Fasting on Wednesday as he called for prayers for “our country and for those on the frontlines of this battle, which includes, pharmacists, teachers, caregivers, store clerks, utility workers, small-business owners and employees”.

He appealed for the country not to lose hope.

“Compassion has not been cancelled,” he said.

“Generosity has not been cancelled. Gratitude has not been canceled. Hope has not been cancelled. Nor have resilience and courage and the spirit of The Bahamian people.

“None of these have been cancelled,” he said.

“We will win this battle through courage, through generosity of spirit and with a resilience, that no hurricane, no virus, no economic threat and no enemy can defeat.

“Our God reigns.”

About Ava Turnquest

Ava Turnquest is the head of the Digital Department at Eyewitness News. Her most notable beat coverage spans but is not limited to politics, immigration and human rights, with a focus especially on minority groups. In 2018, she was nominated by the Bahamas Press Club for “The Eric Wilmott Award for Investigative Journalism”. Ava is deeply motivated by her passion about the role of fourth estate, and uses her pen to inform, educate and sensitize the public.


Prime Minister Minnis, thank you for adhering to the word of Yahweh in calling a National day of prayer and fasting for the 242.
May Yahweh blessed our Nation.

Why are Bankers considered “essential workers” ??? There are other means of Banking in this century such as 24 hour ABM’s, online banking or mobile banking!!! Why not encourage your citizens to use digital banking if you are serious about saving lives!!! Will the Government or Employer provide free daycare services for “essential workers” small children like Canada will implement or who will keep these young children?

Am still waiting on the part where he address rent cause people ain’t working

As the old adage states “What is needful, is lawful” and indeed those caring restrictions placed upon us for our good is necessary to the maintaining of our health and our future existence. The Most Honorable, Dr. Hubert Minnis, has represented us well, concerning this matter. Hats off to you sir and may God keep safe, you, your family, the governmental and opposition body as well. I plead the blood of Jesus over your lives.

I pray God continue to lead guide and protect you and your family. In this trying time we need to pray. Thank you for recognizing Wednesday as a day of prayer. May God keep you in the palm of His Hands. God bless you.

Money is essential so why no money transfer places are open but Wendy’s cable beach is open,man look people need money to buy groceries not Wendy’s and to pay bills this is so 6th world .some jobs you need qualifications for some you just need common sense

My concern is for self employed people, like myself who are out of means to generate monies due to the preventative methods assigned by the gov to stop the spread of covid 19. There are still alot of things that are unclear like are morgage payments suspended, are bill payments suspended, is rental payments suspended, and is there a compensation in place apart from nib (those who are nib contributors). Because reality is if persons are required to,or feel as if they are still required to make payments for bills rent and other necessities. Finding means to generate funds becomes imperative. And may result in some actions that may contradict the advise given by health officials to help prevent the spread of the deadly virus. Wich we as a nation are all praying and trying our best to contain.

Let us Pray Bahamas. This is beyound the power or understsnding of men. Prayer is the key that will unlock the door of healing and protection over our land and the world.

The Lord of Host is with us. Be comforted with the words from this song:
In times like these we need a Saviour, (repeat) Be very sure ,(repeat) Your anchor holds and grip the solid Rock.
This Rock is Jesus the only one. (repeat) Be very sure, be very sure your anchor holds and grip the solid Rock.

We pray may Allah almighty improve the condition of the Bahamas and the whole world from Corona viruse.

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