Worship services are now permitted to be held on Family Islands cleared for normal commercial activity, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced today, adding that drive up services are permitted on the remaining islands, including New Providence.
Those services — not including Sunday school — are allowed to start as of tomorrow.
Minnis said in-sanctuary services are permitted on Abaco, Andros, Long Island, Cat Island, Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Cay, Ragged Island and Rum Cay.
“Persons that are in high-risk categories are asked not to attend the service; this includes persons age 65 and over and those with comorbidities,” he said.
Minnis said the churches are “responsible” for providing hand sanitization at the entrance of the church.
“All persons participating and attending the service must adhere to proper physical distancing, hygiene and sanitisation protocols,” the prime minister said in a statement.
Individuals must sit six feet apart unless they reside in the same “immediate household”.
Individuals are required to wear masks and to remain in or at their seats.
Disposable cups must be used for communion and distributors are required to wear a mask and gloves and to exercise proper hygiene and sanitisation measures.
“There will be one offering station,” Minnis said.
“Offering baskets should not be passed around.”
Islands that have not been cleared for normal commercial activity — New Providence, Grand Bahama, Exuma, San Salvador, Eleuthera, Bimini and the Berry Islands — will also be permitted to hold services as of tomorrow.
However, the prime minister said those services “may only be held as drive-up service where attendees are seated in their vehicles”.
“No sanctuary service is permitted,” he said.
Minnis said adequate parking must be availalbe to accommodate the drive up services.
Services are not allowed to exceed an hour, according to the prime minister.
Four individuals from the same immediate household are permitted to be in a vehicle.
“Where an immediate household has more than four persons, the church leader is to issue a clear sign to be displayed visibly on the dashboard of the vehicle indicating that the church is familiar with the family and the immediate members exceed four persons,” he said.
All vehicles must be parked at least three feet apart.
Communion is not permitted.
Offering baskets are not allowed to be passed from vehicle to vehicle. There will be an offering station.
Minnis also asked individuals — over the age of 65 or with comorbidities — to not attend drive-up services.
Services are permitted to be held between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays during the weekend lockdowns.