Schools, restaurants and gaming houses to reopen with guidelines and some restrictions
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has signed a new emergency order outlining the partial reopening of the country next week Monday.
The order delineates varying restrictions for the islands of The Bahamas and businesses, grouped under three schedules.
It maintains countrywide guidelines on mask-wearing, social distancing and sanitizing, and for every person who leaves their residents to carry government-issued identification.
The order upholds entry requirements: a valid negative PCR COVID-19 test must be obtained 10 days prior to arrival and individuals will be required to mandatory quarantine for 14 days.
However, effective September 1, 2020, a test must be valid within five days of travel from the date the test was taken.
A negative PCR test will also be required for inter-island travel with limitations, including mandatory quarantine for 14 days.
Health visas must be obtained for all travel, according to the orders, which note that as a condition of entry monitoring via the geofencing application Hubbcat will be mandatory.
Citizens and legal residents who refuse to be monitored with have to quarantine at a government facility at their own expense, while visitors who refuse to be monitored will be “deported at the earliest opportunity” and be placed in mandatory quarantine until the deportation.
Islands listed in the first schedule include Chub Cay, Harbour Island, Long Cay, Long Island, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador and Spanish Wells.
The orders provide for churches; schools; home schools and preschools to operate providing sanitization, mask-wearing and social distancing is maintained.
No more than five students may attend a home school unless authorized.
Salons barbershop and other cosmetologists may operate provided that one patron per service provider remains in the establishment.
Restaurants may offer inside and outside dining at 50 percent capacity.
Social gathering shall be allowed with a maximum of 20 people at a private residence or facility.
Weddings, receptions, funerals, burials and repasts will also be allowed with guidelines.
Beaches and parks will also be opened on these islands.
Acklins, Abaco, Andros, the Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Crooked Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama, Inagua, and Mayaguana comprise islands in the second schedule.
New Providence and Paradise Island will be added to the second schedule effective Monday, August 31.
On these islands, a curfew will remain in effect between 10pm and 5am.
All businesses unless deemed essential shall remain closed with exceptions, ranging from restaurants, retail stores, and hotels.
Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, hardware stores and water depots may operate between 6am and 9pm.
Private medical facilities may operate Monday through Friday between 9am and 5pm.
Commercial banks may operate between 8am and 5pm, while money transmission services may operate from 9am to 5pm.
International banks and trusts may do the same provided client-facing services are excluded.
Pool maintenance and landscape services will be allowed between 7am and 5pm.
Retail bakeries, water and ice production shall be permitted between 7am and 5pm.
The orders provide for news vendors to operate between 7am and 1pm, and laundromats between 6am and 9pm provided they operate at 50 percent occupancy.
Restaurants may operate with curbside service, pickup, delivery, takeaway and drive-thru between 5am and 9pm, and can offer outdoor dining a 50 percent capacity with social distancing.
These include ‘Fish Fry’ locations in Grand Bahama.
Vendors at Fish Fry and Potters Cay will be allowed to operate next week Monday.
A retail business may operate Monday through Friday between 7am and 6pm using curbside or delivery service.
Gaming house operators, wholesalers and manufacturers may also operate using curbside, online or delivery services.
Spas, gyms, straw market vendors, festivals, regattas, cinema and a range of other entertainment businesses and services remain prohibited.
Effective August 31, a church may offer live stream service between 7am and 1pm provided no more than 10 people participate on the premises.
Schools, preschools, and home school programs with no more than five students, may all operate with all health guidelines including mask-wearing and sanitization protocols.
Meanwhile, weddings and graveside services may be held with 10 people, excluding officiants.
Hotels may operate on islands in the second schedule provided guests remain on premises during the curfew.
The orders provide for fishing two no more than two people between 5am and 6pm; commercial fishing and harvesting certain marine life.
Beaches and parks in Grand Bahama will open between 5am and 9am; in New Providence, effective August 31, between 5am and 9am, provided groups do not exceed five people.
Individuals may exercise in their neighborhoods between 5am and 9am and in their yard at any time.
Social gatherings remain prohibited.
As it relates to public transportation, taxi service may operate to operate, but private or public buses remain prohibited.
Construction will be permitted Monday through Friday between 7am and 5pm; and on Saturdays between 7am and 1pm.
Additionally, the National Food Distribution Task Force shall be permitted to operate to distribute food.
According to the orders, a person can conduct home visits for the purpose of providing medical therapeutic or other patient care or providing care in a residential care establishment providing the individual to undergo infection control protocol training.
The care provider must receive authorization from the chief medical officer.
According to the orders, businesses resuming operations via delivery should utilize gloves, the delivery person shall contact the customer to announce delivery fo the goods and ensure no person-to-person contact by leaving the delivery outside the door with the driver waiting a distance away.
The orders also speak to businesses resuming curbside pickup with customers paying via electronic or digital platforms, orders being fulfilled by essential staff, and staff wearing personal protective equipment.