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Green light for more businesses

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday gave the green light for more businesses to reopen today, including beauty salons and barber shops, and also gave the approval for public buses to operate once again.

On Friday, jitney drivers protested the initial decision banning them from operating.

Hairdressers and barbers had also expressed disappointment after Minnis left them off the list of professionals who could get back to work.

As of today, public transportation is permitted to operate at 50 percent capacity, subject to health guidelines.

Barbers and beauticians are permitted to open with one person per service provider.

Landscape service providers are permitted to operate from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays.

News vendors are permitted to operate after 7 a.m. on weekdays.

Retail businesses are permitted to 

operate between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays as long as they are utilizing curbside or delivery services.

Clothing and fabric stores may offer in-store service with physical distancing, sanitization and mask protocols.

Restaurants are allowed to offer takeaway, drive-thru and outdoor dining. Restaurants at the Fish Fry and Potter’s Cay are permitted to offer takeaway services only.

“I encourage all businesses, no matter the size, to ensure that your employees and customers are following the health measures, including proper sanitization, physical distancing and the wearing of masks or face coverings,” Minnis said.

The mentioned rules apply to Grand Bahama, New Providence, Acklins, Abaco, Andros, the Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Crooked Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Inagua and Mayaguana.

The prime minister said Family Island administrators should pay careful attention to the orders applicable to their communities.

He said the government will continue to follow the advice of public health officials to determine when it is safe to resume in-person worship services on New Providence and other congregate activities on other islands.

“I invite the residents of every Family Island to follow the specific orders, guidelines and restrictions in your communities,” Minnis said.

“I want to offer particular caution and encouragement for the residents of Grand Bahama and especially New Providence where the number of COVID-19 cases remain high. 

“As we begin this gradual and phased reopening, I remind you to please follow the well-known health and life-saving measures, particularly wearing your masks, maintaining appropriate physical distance and staying at home when you do not need to be out.

“Do not let your guard down. We are still in a marathon fight against COVID-19.”

Minnis has sporadically imposed various restrictions — including curfews and lockdowns, the closure of non-essential businesses and the closure of the borders — since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in The Bahamas on March 15.

By late May, as The Bahamas started to flatten the COVID curve, the prime minister decided to lift a previously imposed weekday 24-hour curfew. 

On June 22, Minnis announced the resumption of activities like indoor dining and the reopening of businesses, including gyms.

However, hundreds of businesses were once again ordered to close by mid-July after The Bahamas saw a significant spike in cases following the reopening of its borders on July 1.

More than 2,000 cases were confirmed in The Bahamas since that period.

For that reason, Minnis yesterday warned, “This is not a time for large parties, socials or group gatherings, which can further spread the virus, which is easy to catch. 

“We are trying to reopen in a measured manner, allowing certain activities in accordance with specific guidelines, restrictions and health and safety protocols.”

He said the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) remains on “high alert”.

“We should all be vigilant in terms of safety and security during the phased reopening of the economy,” Minnis said.

“The public service, the uniformed branches and independent government agencies have been advised to ensure greater and strict adherence to health measures in the workplace.

“As I said last Monday, our task now is to restore our confidence in ourselves by shutting down community spread and flattening the COVID-19 curve of transmissions and infections once again over the next several weeks.”

As of Saturday, 2,135 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in The Bahamas. There have been 782 recoveries, 43 deaths and 10 deaths under investigation.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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