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Rules for businesses outlined in new order

Retail businesses and gaming houses are among those businesses permitted to operate in a more liberalized commercial environment on New Providence, Grand Bahama and several other islands, but bars, spas, beauty salons, casinos, gyms and cinemas must remain closed.

Retail businesses may open Monday to Saturday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., utilizing curbside or delivery services.

Gaming houses may also operate, provided that operations resume utilizing curbside, online or delivery services.

Wholesalers and manufacturers may operate daily.

In addition to New Providence, Paradise Island and Grand Bahama, other islands that face the same rules are Acklins, Abaco, Andros, the Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Crooked Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Inagua and Mayaguana.  

While the new emergency order released yesterday has already taken effect, the provisions become effective on Monday for New Providence and Paradise Island.

A curfew of 10 p.m. to 5 p.m. will remain in effect for the mentioned islands.

Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, hardware stores and water depots may open between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Private medical facilities may operate Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. for emergency medical care, immunizations, neonatal and prenatal care, dialysis, chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, and telemedicine; a dental practice may operate for the purpose of providing emergency care.

Commercial banks and credit unions may open Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

International banks, trust companies or financial institutions may operate Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. with 10 essential staff members or more as may be approved in writing by the competent authority.

Money transmission services may operate Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Essential workers of pool maintenance and landscape service providers may operate Monday to Saturday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Retail bakeries, water and ice production companies may operate daily between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

News vendors may operate Monday to Friday between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m., provided that the vendors remain stationary.

Laundromats may operate daily between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., subject to protocols approved by the Ministry of Health.

Each household is required to designate one person to carry out shopping for essential items or seeking essential services.

All businesses and offices may continue their business operations by allowing their employees to work remotely from home.

Where a business is unable to have employees work remotely, that business shall cease its operations.

All individuals employed with the public service, unless specifically designated as essential workers, shall work remotely.

Attorneys are permitted to operate when discharging instructions in existing criminal or urgent civil matters or taking instructions in new criminal or urgent civil matters where this cannot be done by audio-visual means, or acting in connection with the execution of wills subject in all cases to producing identification if requested to do so.

The National Food Distribution Task Force may carry out the national food distribution program.

A non-governmental organization or religious organization may distribute food and must provide the commissioner of police with a list of employees engaged in the distribution.

Healthcare workers or caregivers may enter homes or residential care establishments to work under certain conditions, including meeting Ministry of Health requirements.

No person shall visit or permit any visitation at any place of quarantine, hospitals or correctional facilities.

Other rules

In addition to bars, spas, beauty salons, casinos, gyms and cinemas, other prohibited operations are discos, museums, libraries, historical societies and other cultural or entertainment facilities.

Additionally, regattas, festivals, fairs, plays and other cultural or entertainment events are prohibited, as are cookouts.

Barbershops are prevented from operating.

Also prohibited are outdoor group exercise activities, craft and straw vendors and jet ski operators.

Effective Monday, a church or place of religious instruction on New Providence may conduct services via livestream between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. from their places of instruction, provided that no more than 10 people are in attendance.

A school is permitted to open, provided everyone in attendance wears face masks, the premises are sanitized and physical distancing guidelines are adhered to.

A person is permitted to operate a home school program, provided that no more than five students are in attendance unless permission for attendance of more than five students has been granted by the Ministry of Education.

Preschools and infant daycare centers are permitted to open, provided that all employees wear face masks, the premises are sanitized and the preschool or infant daycare adheres to any guidelines or notices issued by the competent authority or the Ministry of Education.

Weddings may be held, provided that attendees are limited to 10 people, exclusive of the officiant.

Funerals may be held, provided that the service is conducted at the graveside and is limited to 10 people, exclusive of the officiant and mortuary workers.

No person shall host or attend a wedding reception or a funeral repast.

Restaurants may operate between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. daily, utilizing curbside pickup or delivery, drive-thru or takeaway and ensuring that employees wear masks.

Restaurants, including mobile takeaways, may utilize outdoor dining, provided that the maximum seating shall be 50 percent of the maximum occupancy of that restaurant.

Restaurants or food vendors located at a “fish fry” on Grand Bahama, including but not limited to those located in Eight Mile Rock, Smith’s Point, West End, and William’s Town, may operate for curbside pickup or delivery between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m.

As of Monday, the same applies for businesses at Arawak Cay and Potter’s Cay on New Providence.

Fishing with no more than two people in a vessel between 5 a.m. and 6 p.m. is permitted.

No person shall host or attend a gathering in a private residence or facility except for few exceptions, including weddings.

Beaches and parks may open on Grand Bahama and New Providence between 5 a.m and 9 a.m.

A person is permitted to exercise on Grand Bahama and New Providence in their immediate neighborhoods between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. or in their yards at any time. 

Construction is permitted between Monday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Other islands

More relaxed requirements are outlined for Chub Cay, Harbour Island, Long Cay, Long Island, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador and Spanish Wells.

A business, agency, establishment or institution shall be permitted to operate, subject to health protocols, including the wearing of masks.

A church or place of religious instruction may conduct services in accordance with the protocols established by The Bahamas Christian Council and approved by the Ministry of Health. 

A school is permitted to open, provided that everyone in attendance wears face masks, the premises are sanitized and physical distancing and other health protocols are adhered to.

A person is permitted to operate a home school program, provided that no more than five students are in attendance unless permission for attendance of more than five students has been granted by the Ministry of Education.

Preschools and infant daycare centers are permitted to open, provided that all employees wear face masks, the premises are sanitized and the preschool or infant daycare adheres to any guidelines or notices issued by the competent authority or the Ministry of Education.

A hairstylist, barber or other cosmetologist may operate subject to being certified by the Ministry of Health to resume work. They must not exceed one patron per service provider.

Restaurants, including mobile takeaways, are permitted to operate using inside and outside dining, provided that maximum seating shall be 50 percent of the maximum capacity of the restaurant.

Staff are also required to wear masks.

A person may host or attend a social gathering of not more than 20 people at a private residence or facility.

A wedding may be held in a church, a facility, or outdoors, provided that the number of attendees inclusive of officiants is limited in accordance with physical distancing protocols.

A person may host or attend a wedding reception in accordance with physical distancing requirements.

A funeral may be held in a church or other religious facility, provided that the number of attendees is limited in accordance with protocols issued by The Bahamas Christian Council.

The burial at a graveside may include no more than 30 people, inclusive of officiants and funeral service workers.

A funeral may include a repast of not more than 20 people at a private residence or facility.

All public and private beaches and parks shall be open.

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Candia Dames

Candia Dames is the executive editor of The Nassau Guardian.

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