New measures for Family Islands permits commercial activity, home gatherings and beach access

New measures for Family Islands permits commercial activity, home gatherings and beach access
Office of the Prime Minister (FILE PHOTO: Keval Williams)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Office of the Prime Minnis has announced new measures to lift restrictions on several Family Islands.

Islands including Grand Bahama, Andros, Crooked Island, Acklins, Eleuthera, Cat Island, Exuma, Bimini, the Berry Islands, Mayaguana, Inagua, and Abaco will be on a 10pm to 5am curfew.

The new measures will take effect tomorrow at 5am.

Commercial activities that will be permitted to open daily include food stores, pharmacies, gas stations, water depots, hardware stores, laundromats.

Meanwhile, commercial banks, credit unions, and money transfers, financial institutions with essential staff, will be available Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Law firms for criminal and urgent civil matters will also be allowed to operate Monday to Friday.

Additionally, retail bakeries can open between 7am and 5pm during weekdays.

Other daily operations allowed on those islands include wholesalers and manufacturers, businesses that can provide curbside, online or delivery services, including retail and gaming houses.

The OPM advised that restaurants can open with outdoor dining, takeout, delivery, and drive-through services, except for fish fry restaurants.

Hotels with guests can operate with current restrictions, however, no outdoor dining, gaming, gyms and spas will be allowed.

The statement further noted churches may have indoor services following the Bahamas Christian Council Guidelines and churches can continue to have office hours from 9am to 1pm.

As for social gatherings, weddings and funeral will be permitted with 10 people, excluding the officiant and the mortuary staff for the respective events.

“No gatherings will be allowed in homes except those limited to a maximum of 20 people,” the statement said.

Attending the beaches and parks will be permitted from 5 am to 9 pm daily, except for Grand Bahama which will be limited to 5 am to 9 am.

The National Food Distribution Task Force, NGOs, and churches may continue food distribution. Government offices will be open with essential staff and those who can work from home will be advised to do so by their permanent secretaries.

Construction is permitted, along with commercial fishing, crabbing, and subsistence fishing.

The Office of the Prime Minister also advised that schools will be allowed to open for academic instruction on those select islands with physical distancing and sanitization.

“For those homeschooling, a maximum of five students are permitted in programmes,” it said.

“Requests for permission to instruct more than five students are to be made to the Ministry of Education.”

The statement noted that the provisions will allow for commercial activity and opening up while also maintaining provisions to preserve public health.

Additionally, effective Tuesday 5 am, the islands of Chub Cay, Long Cay, Long Island, Rum Cay, Ragged Island, and Spanish Wells will continue to have no curfew, and San Salvador and Harbour Island will also be moved to this category of islands.

Commercial activities will be allowed with physical distancing and sanitisation protocols and social gatherings should be limited to no more than 20 people.

Physical distancing protocols for church services, funerals and weddings are to be followed; and beaches and parks will be allowed to open.