Shirlon Ritchie traveled to Bimini for a funeral. He did not anticipate he would be on the island months later.
He’s one of approximately 2,000 people on the island who are under a two-week lockdown to contain community spread of COVID-19.
“We’re just taking it one day at a time,” said Ritchie, 58, who works on Grand Bahama.
“I came for the funeral and got stuck in Bimini.”
He has been on Bimini for three months, and is staying with his friend, Nathalie Thompson, whose grandson’s funeral he went to the island for.
Besides himself and Thompson, there are three other people residing in the Bailey Town, Bimini, house currently.
“We mostly do li’l exercise… watch TV. I don’t know if we’re going to have enough grocery for the two weeks, but they say they have enough grocery to call for grocery, but other than that we just taking it as they come. Sit outside on the step, catch some fresh air, watch TV, eat, clean.”
It was on May 14 that Primer Minister Hubert Minnis announced the two-week Bimini lockdown after an additional two residents tested positive for the new coronavirus (COVID-19), taking the island’s numbers up to 13.
Minnis said the lockdown was an “absolutely necessary” measure to save lives on the island.
The Bahamas had 97 confirmed COVID-19 cases up to yesterday. Outside the Bimini cases, there were 75 on New Providence, eight on Grand Bahama and one on Cat Cay.
Ritchie said he plans to return to Grand Bahama as soon as he can.
Otis Hanna, 61, who lives with his 81-year-old mother Barbara Hanna in Alice Town, Bimini, said it is early days yet, but he’s using the time to clean his yard and do his regular washing and cooking.
“Most of the time I’m inside. My mum doesn’t go out anyhow, so it doesn’t matter with her,” said Hanna.
“I do carpentry most of the time when I work, but other than that, I’m almost on the beach… Right across the road is the beach, so I look out to the water through my door, which is a French door, and just relax and pass the time away. What could you do but just relax? I don’t know what’s going to happen by next week this time.”
The proud grandfather was more concerned for his three-year-old grandson, Derval “DJ” Hanna Jr., whom he said is rambunctious and energetic and whom he knows is “dying” to get out of the house.
He spent an hour with his grandson on Monday before he took him home as the lockdown went into effect. He is looking forward to speaking with him on the telephone because he can’t see him.
The two-week lockdown does not affect Kevin Rolle at all, however.
The Bailey Town resident who lives alone said this period is no different than any other time for him. He said his usual routine is work then home.
He has no problem entertaining himself and said he has no issues with the two-week lockdown.
“I have my food and I’m equipped for the next two weeks, so it’s not a problem for me,” he said.
While the rest of the country is in the midst of phased reopening, Bimini residents are under complete lockdown through Saturday, May 30 at midnight.
During the lockdown, a team of 12 volunteers will assist the island administrator with checking in and assessing residents in need of assistance. This group will also help to manage the food pantry on the island.
Boats carrying food and supplies will also be allowed to call on Bimini during the lockdown period to ensure food stores are restocked after the lockdown ends.
The Bahamas identified its first case of COVID-19 on March 15.
To date there are 11 deaths (the first being Kim Johnson-Rolle, of Bimini), 44 recovered cases, six hospitalized cases, 42 active cases and 1,910 tests completed.
Worldwide, there were 5,075,181 confirmed cases and 331,103 deaths.