Parties, churches, daycare and indoor dining permitted on islands with no lockdown

Parties, churches, daycare and indoor dining permitted on islands with no lockdown
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. (BIS)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — An amendment to the latest emergency order has further eased restrictions for people living on islands with no lockdown in effect, including the resumption of social gatherings, daycare, and indoor dining.

The latest lockdown order was lifted for Inagua, Mayaguana, Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Cay, Long Island, Chub Cay, Rum Cay and Ragged Island.

Those islands are under the Emergency Powers (Covid-19 Pandemic) (No 3) Order, 2020, which was amended on July 31 to extend the curfew to 10pm until 5am.

Beaches and parks on those islands are open to the public.

According to the order, restaurants on islands without lockdown restrictions will be allowed to resume indoor and outdoor dining services with 50 percent occupancy, and a social distancing of 30 sq ft per person.

All staff and patrons are required to wear masks, and tables and other items utilized by patrons must be sanitized after each use.

Churches will be allowed to conduct in-church services as well as funerals and weddings in accordance with guidelines established by the Bahamas Christian Council, and approved by the Ministry of Health.

Graveside burials will be permitted to have up to 30 people, inclusive of officiants and workers; and a repast is permitted with up to 20 people at a private residence or facility.

Preschools and infant daycare centres will be allowed to open with strict use of face masks, sanitization of premises, and adherence to guidelines set by the Ministry of Education and prime minister.

Schools will also be allowed to open to facilitate national exams on those islands.

Individuals will be permitted to host social gatherings with up to 20 guests at their home or a private facility, according to an amendment to the latest emergency order.

Indoor dining services will be also allowed to resume with adherence to face mask, sanitization and other safety protocols outlined by the Ministry of Health and the prime minister.

Commercial fishing including trap setting and fishing for crawfish is permitted beyond curfew hours.

According to the amendment order, the director-general of the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority and the chairman of the Bahamas Maritime Authority may permit private or commercial carriers to travel into, within, and out of the country.

The new order also states the prime minister can exempt any individual or class of people from quarantine requirements after consultation with health officials – if their arrival is an essential service or is in the national interest.

Exempted individuals would need to have a negative RT PCR COVID-19 test, and will be residing in a hotel or resort.

In an amendment released yesterday, the National Insurance Board will now be allowed to open to the general public for cheque distribution on Saturdays.

NIB is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9am to 5pm.

Counsel and attorneys are mandated to work from home; however, the amendment permits lawyers to attend their office to collect files and other materials necessary to facility remote work.