NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The government is looking at how it will seek to mandate the use of masks in public spaces once the emergency orders are lifted, according to Attorney General Carl Bethel.
Bethel, however, did not indicate what avenues are being considered once the country reopens for economic activity on July 1.
“We are looking at how to do it,” he told Eyewitness News when asked.
The Bahamas has been in a state of emergency since March 17 with a 24-hour curfew and weekend lockdowns.
The government passed sweeping orders, implementing strict social distancing protocols in order to slow the local spread of the virus.
On April 8, the government ordered that everyone in The Bahamas should wear a mask when leaving their homes.
“Every person who leaves his residence in accordance with the provisions of this order and any exemption granted hereunder shall wear a mask covering his nose and mouth while away from his residence,” according to the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) (No. 2) (Amendment) (No. 7) Order, 2020.
“An exempted business or undertaking may deny entry to any person not wearing a mask covering his nose and mouth.”
Throughout the early course of the global outbreak of COVID19, general messaging from health authorities consistently urged that there was no need to wear a protective mask.
However, the government made the decision to implement the mandatory use of masks as a personal defense measure against asymptomatic people.
The government also prohibited the importation of non-medical protective face masks – creating a million dollar mask industry overnight.
The state of emergency is expected to come to an end on June 29, along with the emergency orders.
While weekend lockdowns came to an end this week, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has said the 9pm curfew will remain in effect until then.
The country is moving into Phase 4 of the government’s plan for reopening, with the resumption of operations of restaurants, bars, and beauty professionals by Monday.