Eleven islands to resume commercial and social activities
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has announced the resumption of commercial and social activities on 11 more islands, excluding New Providence.
Among relaxed measures include: the allowance of weddings and funerals to be held in religious institutions, as well as the resumptions of approved gym facilities on all islands.
According to the prime minister, commercial and social activities may resume on Andros, Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, the Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, Inagua and Mayaguana with physical distancing and mask-wearing protocols in place.
A curfew has been discontinued for Harbour Island, Long Island, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador and Spanish Wells.
Minnis said health officials recommend a 10pm to 5am curfew remain in place for Grand Bahama and that beaches remain open from 5am to noon.
As it relates to New Providence, the prime minister said existing orders will remain in place due to the numbers of cases.
New Providence had 2,422 cases as of Tuesday.
He said existing protocols will also remain in effect for Abaco at this time and beaches will remain open between 5am and 10pm.
The island had 115 cases on Tuesday.
“If you want to go to 12, nobody cares, enjoy yourself,” said Minnis, who expressed his desire to go to the beach in New Providence, but could not because of the limited time.
He said he will be traveling to Andros soon and has already purchased a new bathing suit.
Weddings on all islands may be held in a religious facility following protocols and health guidelines.
While wedding receptions on Abaco and New Providence will be limited to outdoors, wedding receptions on all other islands may be held indoors and outdoors while recognizing all health protocols.
Funerals may be held in religious institutions on all islands with health protocols and approved guidelines for church services.
Graveside service or interment services will also be permitted on Abaco and New Providence with up to 10 people, excluding officiant and mortuary workers.
Repast services remain prohibited on both islands.
However, graveside or interment services can be held on all other islands with 30 people in attendance and repast services will be permitted with a maximum of 20 people.
Gyms, a sector that has remained closed for the majority of the ongoing second wave, will be allowed to reopen on all islands subject Ministry of Health approval.
The prime minister said approved facilities will be inspected periodically by health officials.
Minnis also announced the government will soon present a plan to “remove both domestic and international quarantine, related to travel”.
Anyone who enters The Bahamas must present a COVID-19 negative test and quarantine for 14 days.
There are varying quarantine requirements for domestic travel.
“The Ministry of Tourism will give an update on such plans very soon,” Minnis said.
As The Bahamas furthers its reopening and eases restrictions, the prime minister encouraged residents to follow all health protocols, stressing that the most effective means to mitigate the spread of the virus is wearing a mask and social distancing.
He called facial masks an “anti-viral scud missile” against the virus, adding that some health professionals have indicated “the mask is just as effective as the vaccine”.