Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced immediate changes to the Emergency Order during his long-anticipated speech in the House of Assembly today, as he expects the country to fully reopen in the coming months.
“Our aim, here in the Bahamas is to fully reopen our country in several months if various conditions are met and advised by health officials,” he said.
The curfew in New Providence has been adjusted–11 pm to 5 am. Dr Minnis said he anticipates that in the coming months, the curfew for New Providence will eventually move to midnight, “depending on the outcome.”
In addition, Dr Minnis announced new curfew changes for Grand Bahama, which will see its curfew adjustment from 11 pm to midnight until 5 am.
Dr Minnis then joked with one of his Cabinet Ministers from Grand Bahama, “Michael Pintard, Minister of Agriculture, I know that you would like to go out partying. And if GrandBahama stays as is, once you’re out partying, by one o’clock you will be home, so we will move Grand Bahama to one o’clock.”
In Abaco, the adjusted curfew is 11 pm to 5 am. The curfew for Cat Island and North and Central Andros is now 10 pm to 5 am.
Dr Minnis also announced the removal of curfews for the Berry Islands, South Andros and Mangrove Cay.
“…enjoy yourself, but still adhere to the protocols,” he said to the residents on islands, where curfews were lifted.
Dr Minnis also announced the immediate removal of PCR testing to travel from Grand Bahama, Cat Island and Andros.
As of July 1st, vaccinated individuals will no longer need to pay the $10 fee to acquire a health visa.
Funerals and memorial services in New Providence are now permitted to be held in a church facility in accordance with the guidelines of the Bahamas Christian Council. However, repass remain prohibited.
As for weddings, Dr Minnis said the host has to ensure that everyone in attendance is vaccinated. Private gatherings and social events are allowed as long as all attendees are vaccinated, he said.
A group of fifteen people can now attend beaches in New Providence, Paradise Island, Grand Bahama, mainland Abaco, Eleuthera, Harbour Island and Great and Little Exuma.
The number of people permitted to gather on beaches once stood at 5 people.
The big picture
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of last year, Dr Minnis as the competent authority, implemented a national curfew of 9 pm and 5 am, advising the public that it would prevent the further spread of the virus. It was eventually changed to 10 pm for various islands.
Curfews on some islands like Andros, Acklins, Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Crooked Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama, Inagua, and Mayaguana were discontinued and commercial and most social activities were permitted in September.
However, the rise and fall of COVID-19 cases again forced the shutdown and adjustments of curfews on some specified islands.