Lockdown ends for some islands

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced last night that lockdown and curfew restrictions have been lifted for islands in the southeastern Bahamas and some in the central Bahamas.

He said health officials recommended that normal commercial activity be allowed to resume on islands that have still not recorded any COVID-19 cases. 

Those islands include Acklins, Crooked Island, Inagua, Long Cay, Long Island, Mayaguana, Ragged Island and Rum Cay.

San Salvador was not included due to a pending COVID-19 test, he said.

“As I have said previously, restrictions for public health purposes will not extend beyond what is thought to be absolutely necessary,” Minnis said in a national address.

“I am announcing today that based on the advice of health officials, normal commercial and social activity, including church services and the opening of beaches and parks, may resume on the following islands, effective 5 a.m. Monday, August 10.” 

He added, “The lockdown and curfew have been lifted for these islands because health officials have not recorded any suspected COVID-19 activity at these locations for at least two weeks.

“Though there are no confirmed cases on San Salvador, a travel-related swab is pending test results.

“Further assessment is required for this island before it can be given the all-clear.”

Minnis said travel among the islands where the lockdown has been lifted is now permitted without testing and quarantine requirements. 

As of yesterday, there were 898 cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas – 417 on New Providence, 389 on Grand Bahama, 45 on Bimini, 28 on Abaco, 12 on the Berry Islands, three on Cat Island, three on Exuma and one on Eleuthera. 

Of the cases, 794 have been recorded since July 8 in what health officials have determined is the second wave of infections.

Last week, Minnis announced a two-week nationwide lockdown in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. At the time, he noted that it is possible that the lockdown will be extended.

While other islands remain under stringent measures, Minnis announced the extension of grocery shopping hours.

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, food stores will be allowed to remain open to the general public until 7 p.m. On Saturday, they will open for essential workers up to 6 p.m.

Food stores will also be allowed to restock on Tuesday, Thursday and now Sunday “to ensure that shelves are fully stocked for the designated shopping days”.

On Grand Bahama, Minnis announced that the public will now be allowed to shop for groceries Monday through Friday.

“…Like Abaco, your shopping days will return to Monday through Friday for the general public,” he said.

“On Saturday, the hours will also be extended for essential workers.”

Minnis said the easing of restrictions on islands will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

“The government, guided by the advice of health officials, will continue to monitor and assess COVID-19 developments on each island and determine, on a case-by-case basis, when it is safe to relax measures,” he said.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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