Churches to resume services, with stipulations

Churches to resume services, with stipulations
The interior of Christ Church Cathedral, Downtown Nassau.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced today that worship services can resume tomorrow, under specific conditions.

In a statement, the prime minister advised that churches on the reopened Family Islands – Andros, Long Island, Cat Island, Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Cay, Ragged Island and Rum Cay – will be allowed to hold services in their sanctuary.

However, for New Providence, Grand Bahama, and the remaining unopened islands – Exuma, San Salvador, Eleuthera, Bimini, and the Berry Islands – churches are only allowed to hold drive-up services where attendees are to remain seated in their vehicles.

Drive-up services will be limited to one hour.

Services will now be permitted Saturday and Sunday during the weekend lockdowns between 7 am and 1 pm.

Services on the reopened islands must provide hand sanitization at the entrance to the church and everyone in attendance must wear a mask, adhere to proper physical distancing, hygiene, and sanitization protocols.

Attendees are to be seated six feet apart, unless they are from the same immediate household and are to remain in or at their seats.

The usual Sunday School program is not permitted, according to the statement.

Additionally, Communion may be held using disposable cups, and distributors must wear a mask and gloves, and must exercise proper hygiene and sanitization measures.

The passing around of offering baskets is not permitted as churches are advised to have one offering station.

Persons that are in high-risk categories – including persons age 65 and over and those with comorbidities – are asked not to attend the service.

For the islands only permitted to have drive-up services, churches must have adequate parking to accommodate the services.

Vehicles are only permitted to have four people from the immediate household and must be parked at least three feet apart.

If a household has more than four people, a sign issued by the church leader is to be placed on their vehicle indicating this.

Communion is not permitted, neither is passing offering baskets from vehicle to vehicle.

Once again, the statement advised persons in high-risk categories are asked not to attend drive-up service.