Travel, churches and restaurants all see updated rules
MOH cautions restrictions could be tightened again if pandemic worsens
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Ministry of Health yesterday announced the easing of a number of restrictions implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus amid the fourth wave, with the curve flattening in The Bahamas in the last two weeks.
The amendments to the Health Services Rules took immediate effect.
Social gatherings may be held or attended indoors at a private residence with no more than 40 people.
Social gatherings may also be held at a facility once all attendees are fully vaccinated or present a negative COVID-19 test, with strict adherence to health protocols.
Indoor gatherings were previously limited to 20 people.
The amended rules now allow gatherings outdoors with a maximum of 100 people, up from the 30 previously permitted.
All attendees must be fully vaccinated or present a negative COVID-19 test.
A host who breaches the rules related to gatherings will be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $2,000, and to a fine up to $300 for each person in attendance.
In the case of an attendee, a breach of the rules carries a fine of up to $300.
Anyone entering The Bahamas or traveling inter-island from Grand Bahama and New Providence is required to obtain a COVID test within 72 hours or travel, and a negative rapid antigen test on the fifth day after arrival.
An RT-PCR test is required for those who are unvaccinated.
That test result must be submitted to the Ministry of Health and Wellness via its travel health website.
Those out to sea must undergo a rapid antigen test at the first port of call and submit results to the government on the second day of their stay.
In cases of a positive result, the individual must take an RT-PCR test and isolate in accordance with the rules.
Failure to do so carries a fine not exceeding $1,000 or a term of imprisonment up to one month.
Churches or places of worship on New Providence and Grand Bahama may conduct services, including weddings and funerals, provided that attendance is limited to 50 percent occupancy and all applicable health protocols are maintained.
Funerals may be conducted in the church with the casket or urn present.
A funeral service may also be held at a graveside with adherence to health protocols.
The seating capacity of restaurants has been increased to 75 percent, provided patrons are fully vaccinated or provide a negative rapid antigen test.
Additionally, group exercise indoors is permitted with a maximum of 30 people.
Yesterday, the ministry said it remains encouraged by signs of progress.
It made clear that as the situation improves, the public can expect more revisions, but the opposite could occur, with further tightening, if the situation worsens.
The ministry encouraged residents to get vaccinated and, where appropriate, to get boosters.