Failure to wear facial masks will result in heavy fines
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis today announced the national nightly curfew has been pushed back by one hour and public parks and beaches on New Providence, Grand Bahama and Bimini will reopen on June 29.
However, Minnis made clear there will be no “beach parties” and the size of groups will be limited on the beach.
According to the prime minister, the emergency powers will be extended throughout the month July.
Gyms, outdoor group exercise and spas may also reopen on July 1 with safety protocols approved by the Ministry of Health, Minnis said.
As of today, the national curfew will now be in effect from 10pm to 5 am.
“It is only an hour,” Minnis acknowledged while wrapping up the budget debate in Parliament.
“That is necessary as I progress you would see as certain sectors of society open additional time is necessary.”
The prime minister said business operation hours will also be extended for an hour, until 8pm.
The country will reopen to commercial air travel on July 1.
All individuals, with some exceptions, will be required to present negative PCR tests for COVID-19.
Those tests will be valid for up to 10 days.
Today, Minnis said Bahamians and residents of The Bahamas who travel for 72 hours or less will also be exempted from PCR testing.
However, those travelers will be placed in quarantine upon their return.
He encouraged Bahamians considering traveling abroad to visit the Family Islands instead.
As of yesterday, there were 104 cases of the virus in The Bahamas.
There have been no new cases since June 14.
Minnis said there will be an inevitable increase in cases due to the reopening, adding the country must continue to balance health and economic concerns.
He stressed everyone must do their part.
The prime minister urged residents not to “allow this new sense of freedom to overcome the discipline we have had in place up to now”.
He said the results in flattening the curve would be squandered.
Additionally, the prime minister advised that indoor eating at restaurants will be allowed with social distancing requirements and continued wearing of masks.
Maximum seating, however, will be based on 50 percent capacity, he announced.
He said it is the government’s intention to increase this capacity while maintaining social distancing in the future.
Requirements for approval from the competent authority to hold funerals or weddings will also be discontinued after July 1.
However, graveside will be limited to 30 people will physical distancing.
Further, social gatherings in private homes and facilities will be permitted up to 20 people as of next month..
Effective July 1, taxi, private and public bus services may also resume operations.
Minnis said most of the taxi drivers and bus drivers participated in a COVID-19 mitigation course sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism.
Fine for non-compliance
Establishments, tax and bus owners will be responsible for ensuring patrons wear facial masks.
Today, the prime minister said the wearing of masks has saved lives.
He said failure to enforce the policy could result in fines to be applies to the owners — up to $10,000 or 18 months in imprisonment.
A second violation would result in a higher fine and third instances would lead to the temporary closure of the business.