Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis announced the partial re-opening of home and hardware stores, auto parts establishments and plant nurseries, and the resumption of construction in the Family Islands during a press conference to update the nation on the
national response to COVID-19, on Sunday 19 April. Landscaping and property maintenance services will also be allowed to operate during the 24-hour curfew, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. Family Island hardware, lumber, plumbing and electrical stores that cater to construction will be allowed to open Monday to Friday 7am to 5pm. However, Family Island borders remain closed to international and to domestic air and marine transport from other islands. “Our plan is to gradually begin to re-open the economy based on the data collected by health officials and their professional advice,” said Prime Minister Minnis.
“But the pace of the re-opening of the economy will also depend on the cooperation and discipline of the public in following the health guidelines.” The Government is trying to balance the essential and necessary health measures to fight COVID-19 with what can be done to carefully re-open some areas of the economy, said the Prime Minister.
“Our main priority at all times must be to save and to protect lives,” said Prime Minister Minnis.
Starting early this week, health officials will expand sampling using current RT-PCR capacity. This will be done utilizing physicians, nurses and medical technologists to go out into the community. Those targeted for testing will include contacts of confirmed cases, especially those with symptoms; healthcare personnel nearing the end of their quarantine period; nursing and homecare personnel; and individuals calling into the hotline reporting concerning symptoms, said the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Minnis also announced that individuals must travel with valid ID when out in public. He emphasized that the police would continue to enforce the curfew and anyone violating the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Order could face a fine or stricter penalty. “The longer it takes to stop the spread of COVID-19, the longer it will take to end the curfews and lockdowns and fully re-open our economy,” said the Prime Minister. “The decision as to when to re-open parts of the economy and to get people back to work, rests in all of our hands.”