Nearly three weeks later, Renette Harding’s 79-year-old parents and 19-year-old son remain trapped in the United States after the Bahamian government closed its borders in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Harding’s parents traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana, on March 16 to visit her mother’s sister for her 97th birthday. Her parents left for Atlanta later that week, hoping to return home, she said.
She said her son, who was in Virginia, traveled to Atlanta as well, hoping to get on the flight. However, they were told that The Bahamas had closed its borders, even to its citizens.
The trio then headed to Florida, hoping to find a way home.
However, her parents, Corale and Delton Moree, and her son, Ryan Price, are still waiting, in Florida, to come home.
“It’s concerning, and we long to see them,” Harding told The Nassau Guardian yesterday.
“We video chat every day so we can see how they’re looking and that they’re feeling okay, but it’s disheartening that we can’t have them close by where we could take care of them.
“We have to just hope that they’re doing okay. I wish the government would allow some people [to come home]. At this point, they could let them quarantine at home, but at least give them the option. I don’t know how long they’re going to be able to do this, you know. They’re 79.”
Harding said she is even more worried about other Bahamians who are stuck abroad.
“We’re fortunate that this person is letting them stay for free in their condo, but I often wonder about the other people who were stuck who were on that same flight,” she said.
“What is the government doing for them? I don’t know.”
She added, “We’re in a situation where they are able to be secure and taken care of,” she said.
“But what of the others? I’m not sure who they are, but what of them?”
Harding said the Bahamian consulate was helpful when her father needed prescription medication and had no means of transportation, but the government hasn’t offered any additional help.
“I don’t know,” she said.
“I hope the government revisits this as soon as possible because I don’t know how long they can maintain this.”
On March 27, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar said the government decided to shut down borders for all incoming people, including Bahamian residents and citizens, due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the United States.
The government hasn’t given any indication as to when Bahamians trapped abroad may be able to enter The Bahamas.