Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has suspended the obligation to pay any insurance premium in respect of any health, medical and life insurance policy from March 17 for the duration of the current state of public emergency and extending 60 days thereafter.
“Should any insured event occur giving rise to the liability of the insurer to pay a claim to the insured, the insurer shall honor the claim and only deduct the renewal fee and any deductible from the money paid under the claim,” the new order states.
The Emergency Powers (COVID-19) (Special Provisions) Order, 2020, also suspends any legal requirements to file documents with, to pay fees to, to renew licenses, visas or permits issued by any government entity, statutory body or regulator.
This does not however apply to customs, value-added tax, real property tax or national insurance.
The suspension also does not apply to obligatory court payments for child support and maintenance as well as “any other civil payment ordered to be paid into court”.
However, it does apply to “any limitation of time” provided under the Limitation Act.
The suspension applies to the duration of the state of national emergency, which went into effect on March 17, and 30 days after.
The transitory period — referred to in section 18 of the Register of Beneficial Ownership Act, 2018 — is suspended during this time and for 60 days after the state of emergency.
Fee, payment, and declaration filing requirements — mandated under the Companies Act or International Business Companies Act — are suspended.
During this period, “any document purporting on its face to be a deed shall be conclusively deemed to be a deed” notwithstanding that no seal is actually affixed to it.
Under the order, any document required by an incorporated company shall be “conclusively deemed to have met that requirement” as long as the intention to affix a common seal is declared in a relevant document.
These suspensions will last for the duration of the state of emergency and 14 days thereafter.
Last week, the prime minister imposed a 24-hour national curfew and ordered the closure of non-essential businesses in an effort to contain COVID-19 in The Bahamas, which currently has 14 confirmed cases.
Under the current order, laundromats and wash houses may operate from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Where possible, only essential workers necessary for the performance of the core functions of the business mentioned above are to be utilized while adhering at all times to physical distancing requirements specified in the order.”
The Department of Road Traffic is permitted to open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for purposes of facilitating the registration and licensing of motor vehicles.
Pharmacies are permitted to be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
General insurance companies and brokers are permitted to open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the purpose of facilitating the issuance of certificates of insurance for motor, vehicle registration and licensing.
The amended list of businesses and undertakings also advises that businesses that provide property management and/or maintenance services may operate provided that those businesses shall not be open to the general public and such services do not include any landscaping service.
Physical distancing must be adhered to.
Additionally, Attorney General Carl Bethel advised on Tuesday that sanitation workers and sanitation companies are and remain essential services under the COVID-19 (No. 2) order.
“As such, those sanitation companies contracted to sanitize banks and other institutions are free to perform their duties or sanitational services as and when required for the safety of employees and the general public,” Bethel said.
“Any words attributed to the prime minister were intended to refer to cleaners of roadsides and verges.”