Bimini hopes for partial reopen

Bimini hopes for partial reopen

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As residents of Bimini enter the second week of the extended lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Bimini Island Administrator Cleola Pinder said it is hopes that in absence of new cases over the last week, the island will be cleared to partially reopen.

However, Pinder said the island will follow the advice of health officials and residents remain prepared to do what they must to flatten the curve in the small community.

Speaking to the two-week lockdown and food distribution efforts, Pinder told Eyewitness News: “Persons did not have a lack of anything they would have needed.

“Once they called and they made us aware, then we will package the bags and the volunteers will then go and distribute those items to the persons who made the request.

“So, it is going very well.

“We did have a bit of bad weather. It has been raining non-stop for a few days.

“A number of persons were experiencing leaks, so they would have asked permission to allow somebody at least to go and put some tar paper on the roof.

“In one case we had a senior citizen where the water was really gushing in, and so, we asked Brans Hardware if we could go in a get four of the plywood to secure the elderly’s persons roof where the water was coming into the bedroom.”

She continued: “We are happy to see we are almost to the end. We will be guided by the health officials, so whatever they say we will do, and whatever happens after that, we will grateful if we can reopen. But whatever they deem is necessary for us to do we will do.”

Prior to the lockdown, officials and volunteers distributed over 450 coupons, nearly 300 care packages and nearly 400 fruit bags.

Over the last week, there were 610 care packages, 295 fruit bags and 600 cases of water donated by Caribbean bottling was delivered to residents across the island.

Charlies Bread, a local bakery on the island, donated 200 loaves of bread for senior citizens.

Officials delivering the packages of bread and homemade jam produced by Bimini Innovations Distribution Depot, another local business that produces jams, barbeque sauces and pepper sauces.

Pinder said another 200 loaves of bread will be purchased and delivered today.

“This is to make sure the vulnerable among us or those who are in need receive bread,” she said.

Several mailboats are scheduled to deliver food supplies on Thursday.

Inclement weather challenged those deliveries last week.

Another vessel from the United States carrying donations of food supplies was also expected to arrive in Bimini this week.

The two-week lockdown is expected to come to an end of Saturday; however, weekend lockdowns on islands that have yet to be cleared for full commercial activity remain in effect until the end of May.

Cat Island, Long Island, Abaco and Andros were allowed to resume full commercial activity last week, joining Inagua, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, Mayaguana, Crooked Island, Acklins and Long Cay.

There have been no reported cases of the virus on these islands.

Exuma, Eleuthera, and San Salvador, which have also had zero cases of the virus have not been afforded the same easing of restrictions — much to the frustration of residents there.

In response, the prime minister said multiple islands cannot be opened simultaneously, due to the risk of a potential outbreak.

There have been no new cases country-wide in the last three days.

As of yesterday, there were 100 cases of the virus in The Bahamas — 78 on New Providence, 13 in Bimini, eight on Grand Bahama and one in Cat Cay.

Globally, over 5.5 million have been infected and more than 348,000 people have died.

Meanwhile, over 2.2 million have recovered.