NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis on Saturday said he is in discussions with health officials to determine whether or not restaurant patrons may dine indoors two weeks after receiving their first vaccination shot.
Minnis made the announcement during a walkabout in the Garden Hills constituency on Saturday with Free National Movement (FNM) candidate Stephen Greenslade.
He once again urged individuals to take advantage of coronavirus vaccinations when they are made available.
“As you are called up for your vaccine, as your particular time approaches, kindly receive your vaccine,” he told reporters.
“…I know that at restaurants, you cannot have indoor dining, you must take a test, etc.
“I’ve had discussions with medical personnel and there’s a possibility that those individuals who have been vaccinated, once two weeks have lapsed, then that individual can dine indoors.
“We’re making our staged approach and movement to moving indoors, so as many of us that can be vaccinated, we can get back to our normal lifestyle, our indoor dining, etc.”
On Friday, the prime minister told reporters that he was not currently considering extending the 10pm curfew on New Providence.
Minnis maintained that the decision is not political but science-based, insisting that healthcare professionals are monitoring the situation and will advise on the way forward.
Restrictions on funerals and weddings were somewhat eased, with the competent authority allowing double the number of attendees at graveside services and up to one-third of the capacity of a religious facility for weddings.
The government recently received its first tranche of 20,000 Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines from the government of India and began administering those doses last week Sunday during a trial run.
The program expanded to other eligible groups on Wednesday, with Princess Margaret Hospital beginning vaccinations at its Critical Care Block.
The grouping includes healthcare workers in the public sector, private sector healthcare workers involved in the vaccination campaign, residents and staff of elder care homes and members of the uniformed branches, starting with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.
The government has assured that the vaccine doses received in The Bahamas met all World Health Organization standards and were certified by the Caribbean Regulatory System.
According to the National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee, to-date, more than 1,500 individuals have received a single dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.
The Bahamas is expected to receive more than 30,000 doses of AstraZeneca through the COVAX Facility, to which the government made a $250,000 down payment, before the end of this month.