Terrance Wilkinson, 28, got a call from the Bahamian consulate in Miami shortly after 10 p.m. on Thursday.
The person on the other end of the phone asked him to go to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport so he could return to New Providence after being stuck in the United States for nearly two months.
“My feelings were conflicted because I was happy to be going home, but was skeptical of the process since it seemed rushed and unorganized,” Wilkinson told The Nassau Guardian.
“But, surprisingly, they had everything in order.”
Wilkinson is one of 59 people who were being quarantined at SuperClubs Breezes on the weekend.
“When I first came in the room, it just had a smell like it hadn’t been opened in a while,” he said.
“But I just wiped down the furniture and whatnot with the disinfectants they gave us and it was okay after that.”
The decision to force many of the returning citizens and residents who recently tested negative for the virus to quarantine at a government-selected facility was widely criticized on social media.
Some critics pointed to the fact that some individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 in The Bahamas were allowed to isolate at home.
However, according to Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Delon Brennen, both groups are being treated the same.
“It’s the same thing,” he said on Saturday.
“They’re isolating at home so they have a situation where being at home would not present them an ability to expose anybody else.”
Wilkinson said he chose to quarantine at the facility despite being given the option to isolate at home.
“I didn’t try, to be honest,” he said.
“I live with two family members that are diabetics. So I said, ‘Just in case, I should stay here to take all precautions.’”
On Friday, 183 Bahamians and permanent residents were flown to The Bahamas via Bahamasair — one group to New Providence and another to Grand Bahama. They had been stranded in the United States since The Bahamas’ borders were closed.
All those returning will not be able to see their families until health officials are able to determine if it is safe for them to leave the hotel.
They had to test negative for COVID-19 before returning home.
Robb Sawyer, 45, who is quarantined at home after returning on Friday, said he doesn’t mind not being able to physically interact with his family for the quarantine period.
“I’ll have to endure it,” Sawyer told The Guardian.
“After enduring two months away from my family, I think I can handle 14 days just six feet away from my family now. I can hear them. I can engage with them. I can talk to them.”
Sawyer’s house gives him the “privilege” of isolating in a master bedroom with an adjoining bathroom.
“I would like to think I’m being safer at home,” Sawyer said.
“The world’s a scary place right now and if you have to endure it, you want to be with the people you love.”
He said he cannot wait until the two weeks are over so he can hug his wife.
Ashley Outten, 49, was also allowed to quarantine at home.
“In them giving us a choice, it made it quite fair,” she said.
“When you consider and think about where we’re at now in this country and around the world, I could only imagine how much money they’d have to give out to feed and house these people. And so, for me, I preferred home.”
She said it’s been “great” being back in her own home.
“There’s no place like home,” Outten said.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a one-bedroom shack, a two-bedroom shack or a square box. There’s no place like home. I told my sister I would rather be no other place but home.”