Attorney General Carl Bethel said a number of businesses may be made exempt from the newly implemented 24-hour curfew in an effort to maintain necessary commerce as the government tries to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Caregivers and others who provide services to the elderly and shut-in; people who look after animals and farms and maintain national parks; as well as people who work on remote cays, may be among those exempted, he said.
Bethel said the Road Traffic Department and the Post Office Bank will also likely reopen.
“We are looking at an enormously large list of businesses that for one reason or another are seeking exemption,” Bethel said.
“We will provide exemptions to businesses that are either directly ancillary or supportive of existing essential services – businesses that are necessary to support life and health in other ways.
“…So, we are going to try to provide as much relief on terms. The terms are this – any businesses that are exempted must only employ on the job persons that are absolutely necessary to perform their core functions and maintain social distancing…and sanitization of their offices.”
Bethel added, “We’re trying to strike a balance between the critical needs of public safety and also the need to maintain a level of commerce in our society.”
Bethel said liquor stores will remain closed.
“The view of Cabinet was, no, liquor stores are to remain closed,” he said.
“How could we close churches and not close liquor stores?”
In addition, he said business license fees will still be due at the end of this month.
“At the end of the day, the government needs its revenue,” he said.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis on Monday night ordered a 24-hour national curfew and the closure of airports, docks, ports and beaches throughout the country, with certain exceptions.
So far there are five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas, but health officials say they expect a surge in cases.