Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday announced the relaxation of some COVID-19 mitigation measures on the island of Eleuthera.
After Eleuthera experienced a surge in COVID cases several weeks ago, measures were put in place including weekend lockdowns and a weekday curfew.
In addition to those restrictions, all domestic flights and sea vessels traveling to or from Eleuthera were prohibited, except in emergency or otherwise approved cases.
Bars and restaurants connected to bars were also ordered closed, while indoor church services were prohibited.
As new cases appear to have declined on the island, Minnis yesterday announced a later curfew as well as the resumption of indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants.
“…I want to say to those who are in Eleuthera and listening to my voice, I know the stress and the strain you’ve been undergoing during the last three weeks with respect to COVID,” he said.
“And I want to thank you for your co-operation and appreciation, especially those in Eleuthera.
“And I want to announce here today that the restrictive measures that we’ve taken in Eleuthera will be relaxed and Eleuthera’s curfew will commence at 10 p.m. as opposed to 6 p.m. And all indoor and outdoor restaurants can now function. You can now enter your restaurant for indoor dining. However, I advise that you still stick to the mitigation protocols for COVID.”
Minnis did not address the travel restrictions or the removal of weekend lockdowns. There was also no mention of whether or not bars will be permitted to operate.
The news came after some Eleuthera residents pleaded with Minnis to ease restrictions.
Diallo Ingraham, who owns several businesses on the island and is a pastor, told The Guardian over the weekend that the tighter restrictions left his family with tough decisions to make.
“We’re trying man,” Ingraham said.
“Businesses are hurting, people are hurting.
“I think it’s past time. My wife and I just were talking this week because we now have to make a decision on our gas station. It’s a very low-profit business and most of our business is in the evenings or on weekends, and if we don’t have those then, what do you do? That means somebody now is going to basically lose a job or we’re going to cut numbers because we have to. The only good thing is that we have a church where we can basically help take care of our members.”
Eleuthera recorded 148 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
The prime minister did not mention whether any decisions have been made regarding Exuma, which has been under similar restrictions following a spike in cases, which appears to have since leveled off.