FNM defends changes to restaurant dining permissions

FNM defends changes to restaurant dining permissions

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Free National Movement (FNM) last night issued a statement defending a series of recent changes to restaurant dining permissions and dismissing recent criticism of the same made by Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis delivers an address during a Crown Land grant ceremony in Crossing Rocks, Abaco, on Friday, December 11, 2020. (BIS PHOTOS/YONTALAY BOWE)

“There is a global pandemic of unimaginable proportions, which began a year ago. Since the start of the pandemic, our prime minister, Dr Hubert Minnis, has worked closely with the health experts to make data-driven decisions to save lives and keep people safe,” the statement read.

“This week’s decision was no different.

“True leaders understand when dealing with a global pandemic it’s better to exercise caution in order to maintain a safe and responsible re-opening.”

On December 25, the competent authority, the prime minister, signed new emergency orders mandating that individuals who were not currently guests of a hotel or “commercial accommodation” on New Providence or Abaco would be required to submit a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test to check-in as a guest or use any facility on the hotel premises, including restaurants.

The change was announced as some hotels were allowing non-guests to dine at their restaurants following a negative rapid antigen test taken on the property.

Days later, on December 28, new orders were signed stipulating that individuals are not required to have a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test to utilize any outdoor facility on hotel premises, including restaurants, casinos, etc., provided that the person does not enter the hotel or commercial accommodation to access the facility.

The Ministry of Tourism also said in a statement issued that day that the purpose of the new order is to “safeguard the use of hotels by all persons and to mitigate any negative impact the coronavirus may have on this critical component of our tourism sector”.

Davis, however, slammed the changes, calling them “confusing” and “frustrating”, among other things.

Progressive Liberal Party Leader Phillip Brave Davis.

The FNM took aim at that criticism in particular, saying: “Like a broken record, the old and tired Davis is wearing Bahamians out with his baseless attempts to constantly criticize the government.

“He continues to diminish the small amount of credibility he has left with Bahamians each time he utters yet another nonsensical, partisan attack while offering no real solutions.”

It added: “Davis demonstrates how poor a leader he is every time he speaks, or flees the country.

“The PLP (Progressive Liberal Party) leader has shown time and time again his main priority is scoring political points — even in a pandemic — rather than the Bahamian people. But rest assured, we have a doctor at the helm who is making the tough decisions to save lives and work toward getting the country up and running again.

“Davis would do well to take notice of what real leadership looks like.”