Healthcare workers were not able to adequately prepare for the lockdown on New Providence, Bahamas Nurses Union (BNU) President Amancha Williams said on Tuesday, adding that many nurses are having “challenges right now”.
“We support [the lockdown] 100 percent,” Williams told The Nassau Guardian.
“We just have an issue. At the end of the day, you can’t have a lockdown without informing essential workers. Seven days, no gas station? No food store?
“You have not informed and you have not given anybody any previous insight or warning that you were going to do a seven day total lockdown with nothing opened.
“When persons are out and about on the street, the nurses are to work. When persons are to sleep, the nurses or the essential workers are working.”
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced a more aggressive seven day lockdown on Monday night after a recent surge in COVID-19 on New Providence.
The lockdown prohibits essential businesses like grocery stores, private pharmacies, gas stations and water depots from opening on the island.
However, hospitals, healthcare facilities and other essential businesses are mandated to operate.
“The nurses having challenges right now,” Williams said.
“They’re like, ‘My gas is on E and you gotta remember that I’m the only person in my family working right now.'”
She said she reached out to Minnis to voice the concerns of her members.
Williams said he replied to her via text message.
“The prime minister said there will be some adjustments,” she said.
She said the prime minister should have given essential workers, including nurses and doctors, a notice of his plans to implement the total lockdown.
“If I get off 10 o’clock last night, when you’ve given a presentation to the country that the lockdown starts, effective immediately, that is nothing for me,” Williams said.
“It does not give me enough time to provide [for] my family. Now, I have to find someone to keep them. I have to ensure that food and water are in the house for them while I go out and take care of the sick.
“We’re the only ones that are working 24 hours. So, you should’ve given the essential service notice on your plans so that the essential service would be ready.”