Although Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced on Sunday that Long Island, among other islands, is now permitted to “resume commercial activity”, Long Island MP Adrian Gibson on Monday night warned residents not to engage in activities he said could result in Long Island being closed again.
“We are hearing that – since the opening of Long Island for wide-scale business/commercial activity – plans are being made for happy hours at bars, reservations being taken for dinner and parties being planned,” Gibson said.
“This is simply not allowed. If anyone is aware of such plans [or] actions, report it to the police. If the above mentioned acts occur, Long Island could potentially be exposed to COVID-19 and, even more, closed yet again.”
Some islands with no confirmed cases of COVID-19, including Cat Island, Long Island, Abaco, Andros, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins and Long Cay, have been allowed to resume commercial activity.
However, Exuma, Eleuthera, San Salvador and the Berry Islands have also not had any confirmed COVID-19 cases, but have not been allowed to resume normal commercial activity.
Minnis has not said why those islands remain closed, but during an address last month, he expressed disappointment in people who violated lockdown on certain islands.
“We must all do our part,” the prime minister said on April 27.
“And I want to send a special notice out to those in Harbour Island and Exuma who, over the weekend, were engaged in partying.”
On Sunday, the prime minister also expressed disappointment over some Eleuthera residents holding a motorcade.
A day later, police announced that 13 people were arrested on Eleuthera for “breaking the COVID-19 curfew”.
Gibson said that although commercial activity has resumed on Long Island, residents must continue to adhere to social distancing measures mandated by the government.
“Residents are to wear masks in public and maintain social distancing at all times – at stores, at the mail boats [and] elsewhere,” he said.
“Curbside service can also be provided. Restaurants can only provide takeout service. No dine in. No inter-island travel is allowed between Long Island and Exuma. The [prime minister] has made provision to permit persons on the opened islands to travel to New Providence and to Grand Bahama or [only] between the opened islands.”
Gibson added, “Number[s]/gaming houses are not allowed to open anywhere in The Bahamas, unless otherwise stated by the competent authority.”
A new emergency powers order to give effect to the prime minister’s announcement has not been issued.