Weekend lockdown lifted for Abaco and New Providence, weekly curfew extend by one hour, GB included
COVID Command Centre receives more than 2,888 calls
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As he announced a loosening of restrictions for New Providence and Abaco the prime minister warned that cases could increase and another lockdown could be implemented if health protocols are not followed.
“As I have mentioned to you before, during the pandemic we will go through cycles of tightening and loosening restrictions,” Minnis said, during a national address.
“When case numbers go up, we have to tighten the rules to save lives.
“When those numbers go down, we loosen restrictions so Bahamians may get back to work and resume more normal lives. The measures we put in place to combat the second wave have worked.”
The prime announced that the weekend 24-hour curfew for Abaco and New Providence has been lifted, and replaced with a 6pm to 5am curfew beginning today.
The weekday curfew will be pushed back by an hour, from 9pm to 5am between Mondays and Fridays.
The curfew will also be extended to Grand Bahama.
The mainland of Eleuthera however, will be placed on a 24-weekend lockdown and a weekday curfew as cases continue to increase on the island.
Food stores may open to the public on Saturdays and can carry out restocking on Sundays.
Beaches and parks will now be open on the weekend from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The prime minister announced that outdoor dining can resume at restaurants and at fish frys, Monday to Saturday but only drive-thru and take away services will be permitted on Sundays.
Hotels however may resume indoor dining.
The retail sector, including pharmacies, may resume in-store services Monday to Saturday following the outlined protocols.
The prime minister said consultation is ongoing to determine the appropriate time for the safe reopening of gyms, spas and other elements of the economy.
“As we continue to reopen our economy in phases, we anticipate that the number of cases will increase,” Minnis said.
“But we can still slow and control the transmission of COVID-19 if we consistently practice the health measures recommended by public health professionals that we already know are effective.”
COVID Enforcement Unit
The prime minister insisted that enforcement of the emergency orders will continue as the country opens up.
He advised that since the establishment of the COVID-19 Command Center in August, more than 2,888 calls have been received.
Eight out of ten calls made to the COVID-19 Enforcement Unit hotline were reports related to various business establishments of individuals not wearing masks or social distancing, according to the prime minister.
“I once again ask all business establishments to ensure that your employees and customers are abiding by health measures,” he said.
Minnis said 67 percent of citations issued by the COVID 19 Enforcement Unit were for failure to wear masks away from a residence, and 27 percent were for breach of curfew.
He said the enforcement unit has also responded to mass social gatherings and incidents on isolated beaches.
Minnis said while his government has been criticized for “acting aggressively”, the government is not afraid of “making the tough decisions”.
“As we emerge out of this second wave, let us be cautiously optimistic and let us continue to be careful,” he said.
“We are opening up. But if we stop following the public health advice, virus cases will increase again and we may end up back under restrictions.”