Restrictions implemented for some Family Islands

The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) yesterday announced further restrictions for several Family Islands where cases of COVID-19 have surfaced.

“These provisions allow for commercial activity and opening up, while also maintaining provisions to preserve public health,” OPM said in a statement.

In the past week, cases were confirmed on Acklins, Andros, Crooked Island and Mayaguana – all islands that had previously avoided the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.

While the rest of The Bahamas remained under a curfew with restrictions on the operation of businesses and social activities, restrictions had been lifted on those islands, along with others with no confirmed cases.

However, the latest measures, which take effect today and apply to Grand Bahama, Andros, Crooked Island, Acklins, Eleuthera, Cat Island, Exuma, Bimini, the Berry Islands, Mayaguana, Inagua and Abaco, include a daily 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.

According to the statement, food stores, pharmacies, gas stations, water depots, hardware stores and laundromats are permitted to open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Commercial banks, credit unions and money transfer businesses are allowed to operate Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Financial institutions with essential staff are also permitted to open form 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during weekdays.

According to the statement, law firms may also operate for criminal and urgent civil matters. Retail bakeries are also permitted to open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

Government offices will also open with only essential staff.

According to the statement, construction, commercial fishing, crabbing and subsistence fishing are permitted.

Wholesalers and manufacturers, as well as businesses that can provide online or delivery services are also permitted to open on a daily basis. The statement noted that this includes retail and gaming houses.

Restaurants are also permitted to open with outdoor dining, takeout, drive through and delivery services. However, fish fry restaurants are to remain closed, the statement noted.

Churches can continue to have indoor services “following the Bahamas Christian Council guidelines”.

Weddings and funerals are allowed with up to 10 people, excluding officiants and staff.

Food distribution by the National Food Distribution Task Force, NGOs and churches may continue.

The statement noted that hotels with guests may operate, but no indoor dining or gaming is allowed, and gyms and spas on the property cannot operate.

Gatherings in homes must be limited to a maximum of 20 people, the statement noted. The statement added that exercise is permitted in one’s neighborhood between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m, and people may exercise in their yards at any time. Exercise is only permitted on Grand Bahama between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m.

On all islands except Grand Bahama, people may visit beaches and parks between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. daily. On Grand Bahama, the hours are limited to between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m.

According to the statement, schools on those islands can open for in-person academic instruction “with physical distancing and sanitization”.

“For those homeschooling, a maximum of five students are permitted in programmes,” it read.

“Requests for permission to instruct more than five students are to be made to the Ministry of Education.”

The statement noted that there is no curfew for Chub Cay, Harbour Island, Long Cay, Long Island, Rum Cay, Ragged Island, San Salvador and Spanish Wells.

“Commercial activities are allowed with physical distancing and sanitization protocols,” it read.

“Social gatherings should be limited to no more than 20 people; physical distancing protocols for church services, funerals and weddings are to be followed; and beaches and parks are open.”

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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