Amended emergency orders reintroduces 14-day quarantine period

Amended emergency orders reintroduces 14-day quarantine period
(FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Travelers from New Providence to other islands of The Bahamas will be required once again to quarantine for 14-days, according to an amendment to the latest emergency orders.

As part of its new travel regime, the government discontinued the proposed rapid antigen test and the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement upon arrival.

In the Emergency Powers (Covid 19 Pandemic) (No.11) Order, 2020, inter-island travel requires a travel health visa, and in instances of travel from New Providence, a follow-up up rapid antigen test of the fifth day of stay.

The order was signed on November 9.

The Emergency Powers (COVID-19 Pandemic) (No. 11) Amendment) Order, 2020, signed today reads: “A person travelling from New Providence shall be required, upon arrival on the other island, to submit to mandatory quarantine at a government identified facility or any other appropriate facility as determined by the Ministry of Health, at his own expense, for a period of fourteen days or for the duration of stay, if for a lesser period.”

However, it advises that a person who has entered The Bahamas and is transiting New Providence to a Family Island within a 24-hour period shall not be required to obtain a further travel visa or submit to the mandatory quarantine requirement.

In an interview with Eyewitness News on November 1, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said his government intended to maintain the quarantine requirement for travelers from New Providence, or those who transited on the island for more than 24-hours.

At the time, Minnis explained the general consensus was that the antigen testing would have little impact so soon after the mandatory RT-PCR test required for entry.

He also stressed the travel policy did not discriminate against Bahamians.

“There is no discrimination, PCR for everybody,” Minnis told Eyewitness News.

“If I went over there for two hours, I can’t come back until I can get my PCR. The law applies to everybody, see the data is there. The data shows that the infection is as a result of the Bahamians and therefore you must close all opportunities or we’ll be back to square one.”

The orders maintain that entry into The Bahamas requires a travel health visa, which includes a standard fee, a negative RT PCR COVID-19 with five days of travel, and follow-up testing via a COVID-19 rapid antigen test on the fifth day of stay.

In instances of a positive result during the follow-up protocol, the traveler will receive a RT PCR test.

Until the results have been obtained, quarantine will be mandatory.

A confirmed positive result requires quarantine for 14 days or the duration of stay if for a lesser period.

Anyone who has entered The Bahamas and exhibits symptoms within 14 days will also be required to undergo a rapid antigen test.

A positive result will require an RT PCR test to be taken.

The latest emergency orders outline increased restriction for Eleuthera and a marginal range of eased restrictions for Abaco and New Providence while maintaining travel protocols that mandate a negative RT PCR COVID-19 test and quarantine for 14 days.

The latest emergency orders prohibit all social gatherings in Eleuthera and mandates that schools and churches on the island may only offer virtual sessions.

Domestic travel in or out of Eleuthera has been prohibited via all modes of transportation unless the respective authorities have approved an emergency or other flight of voyage.

A curfew has been imposed between 6pm and 5am.

A 24-hour curfew has been imposed between 6pm on Fridays and 5am on Mondays.

Restaurants shall be permitted utilizing inside and outside dining provided that the maximum seating of a restaurant does not exceed 50 percent.

Salons, barbershops and spas may operate provided the occupancy does not exceed one patron per service provider.

Social gatherings have been prohibited.

Weddings may be held with no more than 10 people in a religious facility.

Funeral services can be held with graveside service or interment with a maximum of 10 people, exclusive of the officiant and mortuary service.

Worship service shall only be held via live stream between 7am and 1pm from places of instruction with no more than 10 people facilitating the service.

Schools must use virtual learning.

Beaches and parks shall be open between Monday through Friday between 5am and 6pm with groups no larger than five people.

According to the orders, travel is prohibited to an island, which has been given an order of an impending lockdown, 24-hour curfew or “for which additional measures and restrictions have been imposed”.

First Schedule

Islands in the first schedule, Acklins, Andros, the Berry Island, Bimini, Cat Island, Chub Cay, Crooked Island, Elbow Cay, Exuma, Inagua, Mayaguana, Grand Bahama, Grand Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Harbour Island, Long Cay, Long Island, Man-O-War Cay, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador and Spanish Wells.

With the exception of Grand Bahama, where a 9pm to 5am curfew has been imposed Monday through Sunday, islands in the first schedule, have normal commercial activity with health protocols.

Churches may conduct services and schools may operate with in-person learning, recognizing all health protocols.

Salons, barber shops and spas may also operate, provided the occupancy of such establishments does not exceed one patron per service provider.

Restaurants can also serve customers in premises with 50 percent of its maximum occupancy.

Social gatherings have been capped at 20 people at a private residence or facility.

Weddings, receptions, funerals, burials and repasts may be held following health guidelines, including physical distancing protocols.

However, in Grand Bahama attendees at weddings and funerals have been limited to 10 people, and wedding receptions or funeral repasts have been prohibited.

Beaches are open for all islands in the first schedule.

However, beaches and parks in Grand Bahama remain open from 5am to 8pm.

Second Schedule

New Providence, Paradise Island, and Abaco, excluding Green Turtle Cay, Grand Cay, Man-O-War Cay and Elbow Cay comprised islands in the second schedule.

A curfew remains in place between 9pm and 5am.

A weekend curfew remains in place on Saturday and Sunday between 6pm and 5am.

In Abaco, a food store shall be permitted to operate on Saturday between 6am and 7pm.

Prohibited businesses include a casino, bars, discos, cinema, museums, regattas, festivals, fairs, spas, gyms and craft or straw market vendors, among others.

Religious services may be conducted on Saturday and Sunday between 7am and 1pm.

Schools may operate virtually.

A wedding may be held with no more than 10 people, excluding the officiant.

Graveside service or internment may be held with a maximum of 10 people, exclusive of the officiant and mortuary workers.

Hotels are permitted to open, but indoor dining, casinos, discos and spas are prohibited.

Restaurants can open between Monday and Friday between 6am and 8pm, and on Saturday between 6am and 5pm using curbside, delivery, drive-thru and takeaway, as well as outdoor dining.

Restaurants may open on Sunday between 6am and 4pm on Sunday using drive-thru and take away services only.

Beaches and parks shall remain with groups of no more than five people.

Residents can exercise in their immediate areas on Monday through Friday between 5am and 9pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays between 5am and 6pm.

No social gatherings are permitted.