Exuma Chamber president: Airport shutdown “devastating”

Exuma Chamber president: Airport shutdown “devastating”
Exuma Chamber of Commerce President Pedro Rolle.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Exuma Chamber of Commerce president said last night that the shutting down of the island’s airport could prove “devastating”, as he expressed doubts that many of the COVID-19 restrictions are yielding the desired results.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis last night announced new emergency measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on Exuma, which has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Minnis announced a 24-hour weekend curfew and the restriction of all domestic travel from the island.

Effective today, domestic travel by air or sea vessels is prohibited in and out of Exuma except for exemptions provided in the emergency orders and approved by officials.

Anyone traveling from Exuma to any other island in The Bahamas will be required to have a negative COVID RT-PCR test.

The weekday curfew will take effect today and continue Mondays through Fridays from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m.

On Friday, Exuma will go into a 24-hour weekend lockdown at 6 p.m., ending Monday 5 a.m.

During the weekend curfew, business operations will not be allowed to open.

Pedro Rolle, Exuma Chamber of Commerce president, said: “Shutting down the airport is devastating. The curfew, we can live with and if you have to deal with the weekend shutdown, I guess you can live with [it]. I’m just not so sure that the results are warranting these sorts of restrictions.

“The health consideration should be paramount. We have been doing this thing for six or seven months. I’m not sure that these lockdowns are having the desired effect. It’s costly all around, for the government and local business persons, and I really believe we should invest more in compliance.”

Rolle said: “We ought to hire a bit more people to ensure compliance of the protocols. I believe if we invest in compliance, we will get a greater result. I also think we have to do more contact tracing so we can better look at the communities, see what’s happening and what measures need to be taken.”

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