Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday that commercial activity can resume on four more Family Islands.
“As you know, we are still in phase 1b of the national reopening plan, but we have started to introduce components of phase two as the country fully transitions into the second phase of the plan,” Minnis said in a national address.
“I am pleased to announce this evening that Cat Island, Long Island, Abaco and Andros will now be able to resume commercial activity effective tomorrow, Monday, May 18th,” Minnis said in a national address.
“Let me reemphasize to all of the Family Islands — that are able to resume commercial activity — that weekday curfews and weekend lockdown measures still remain in place, as do physical distancing measures and the requirement to wear facial masks.”
This is the second cohort of Family Islands allowed to resume commercial activity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ragged Island, Rum Cay, Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins and Long Cay resumed commercial activity on May 4.
None of the islands — in either cohort — have had confirmed cases of COVID-19.
However, Exuma, Eleuthera, San Salvador and the Berry Islands remain closed. Minnis did not explain why.
Exumas and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper and Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Senator Clay Sweeting, who lives on Eleuthera, yesterday questioned why Exuma and Eleuthera remain closed.
Minnis also announced the relaxing of restrictions on some islands.
Construction companies on New Providence and Grand Bahama will be allowed to operate between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturdays.
In order “to facilitate hurricane preparedness”, according to the prime minister, home and hardware stores will be allowed to operate in-store between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Mondays.
“This is in addition to the Wednesday and Friday in-store hours that home and hardware stores are currently allowed to operate,” Minnis said.
“The operating hours also apply to manufacturers of hurricane-proof windows and other hurricane-related products.”
Pharmacies will be allowed to operate between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays for the public, and between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturdays for essential workers.
Minnis said exercise measures “have been further relaxed” during the weekend lockdowns.
Exercise is permitted to take place between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. on the weekends. Individuals are required to exercise in their immediate neighborhoods.
“On those Family Islands allowed to resume commercial activity, residents will be allowed to catch crabs for themselves and for sale during the evenings of weekday curfew and weekend lockdowns,” Minnis added.