Grand Bahama and a number of Family Islands will be allowed to resume normal commercial and additional social activities, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis announced today in the House of Assembly. Andros, Acklins, Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Crooked Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama, Inagua and Mayaguana will now join the First Schedule of islands where curfew has been discontinued and commercial and most social activities are permitted, with physical distancing and mask wearing protocols.
“While a curfew will no longer be in effect for these islands, health officials recommend that a 10pm to 5am curfew remain in effect for Grand Bahama,” said Prime Minister Minnis during his contribution to the debate to extend the Emergency Proclamation to 31 October 2020.
“Health officials also recommend that beaches remain open daily in Grand Bahama from 5am to 12 noon for the time being.” The Prime Minister said that because of the number of cases on New Providence, the provisions under the current Emergency Powers Order will remain in place. Further, because of the indicators being tracked by health officials, the provisions under the current Emergency Powers Order will also remain in place for Abaco for now. However, on Abaco, beaches may open daily between 5am and 10pm. The Prime Minister also announced that gyms will be permitted to open on all islands including New Providence and Abaco, subject to Ministry of Health approved guidelines, and changes to wedding and funeral restrictions. Weddings on all islands in the country may be held in a religious facility following protocols and Ministry of Health approved guidelines currently in place for church services.
On Abaco and New Providence, wedding receptions may be held outdoors only with physical distancing and mask wearing protocols. On all other islands, wedding receptions may be held indoors and outdoors with physical distancing and mask wearing protocols. Funeral services may be held in a religious facility on all islands, including Abaco and New Providence, following protocols and Ministry of Health approved guidelines currently in place for church services. For Abaco and New Providence, graveside services/interment may be held with 10 people in attendance, not including the officiant and mortuary workers. Repasts are not permitted on Abaco and New Providence. On all other islands, graveside services/interment may be held with 30 people in attendance. Repasts are permitted with no more than 20 in attendance.
Chub Cay, Harbour Island, Long Cay, Long Island, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador and Spanish Wells are already in the First Schedule of islands.The Prime Minister said that the Government remains committed to the reopening of the economy in the area of tourism by mid-October, with the necessary protocols that must be put in place. Tourism officials in the public and private sectors have been working very hard over many months to devise plans for the phased reopening, and will provide an update soon, he said.
“No one should be under any illusion as to how long and how difficult it will be to restore our economy generally and tourism, specifically,” said Prime Minister Minnis. “Recovering stronger, together, is going to take a long time. But I assure the Bahamian
people that we are preparing the groundwork for recovery.”