PM defends hotel beaches access during curfews

PM defends hotel beaches access during curfews

Minnis will address the nation by Sunday 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday defended the allowance of hotels in New Providence to operate during the weekend lockdown with beach access, insisting that the policy is fair to guests who follow testing protocols.

Minnis said health officials continued to meet to review data on the COVID-19 situation in the country to determine the way forward.

The prime minister advised that he will address the public by Sunday.

Prime Minister Minnis fields questions from media (FILE PHOTO)

While beaches and parks have reopened on New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco, they will close on weekends during the 24-hour weekend curfew.

The latest emergency orders note that while public and private beaches and parks are closed for islands in the second schedule (New Providence and Abaco) on Saturday and Sunday, a beach immediately connected to a hotel will be allowed to open to guests only.

Responding to criticisms over the “discrimination” of the policy against Bahamians, Minnis noted that the exemption of hotels is in line with the Hotels Encouragement Act.

He said: “Bahamians can utilize the beaches”, once they follow the protocols at the hotel.

“Would it not be fair that all individuals who are in the hotel, they would have had a PCR test, a negative test before they entered the hotel.

“Would it not be fair for individuals who likewise want to utilize the facility should likewise have a PCR.

“Bahamian or anybody meets such criteria they can utilize such facility.”

Responding to questions from the media on the removal of the 24-hour weekend curfew amid declining cases of the virus in New Providence, the prime minister said: “Every decision we make is data-driven.”

He noted: “…What I would ask is that if everybody remains compliant and cooperative in terms of the mitigation process and protocols put in place. If we were to do that, then the numbers would continue to come down, and maybe we could have a good Christmas moving forward.”

Minnis said the objective not only to have the tourist sector running and individuals reemployed, but to also move toward Christmas, which is “one of the greatest family unification during the particular time”.

]Grand Bahama also has a daily 8pm-5am curfew.

The prime minister added that the easing of restrictions will ultimately be determined by the data presented by health officials.

“Then I’ll discuss it with my Cabinet colleagues and then we will move forward,” he said.