weekendlockdown

Monday, January 18, 2021

weekendlockdown

Why Chester Cooper Is Against Exuma’s Strict Measures

After Prime Minister Hubert Minnis implemented restricted measures for Exuma following a rise in COVID-19 cases, area representative Chester Cooper is speaking out against one aspect of the measure that he believes will “dramatically shift the state of everyday life on Exuma”– the weekend lockdowns.

“While the rapid rise in cases on Exuma is very troubling and some restrictive measures may be warranted to slow the spread, I do not support full weekend lockdowns.

“Had anyone in Cabinet bothered to ask my advice, I would have been happy to assist,” he said.

Why it matters

  • Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said there is an exponential increase in cases on that island following the October holiday weekend and two major social events.
  • Over the past week, Exuma has recorded 30 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  • As of Tuesday, the 10th of November, a total of 79 positive cases of COVID-19 were recorded on the island of Exuma. Of that number, 28 cases are active, two are hospitalized, and there has been one COVID-19 related death.

Reasons why Chester Cooper says he opposes weekend lockdowns

  • They are too blunt an instrument for the situation as it stands.
  • Exuma is just now experiencing some relief on the tourism front after months of lingering in the economic doldrums.
  • Exuma has international flights now coming in from Florida and North Carolina on Saturdays.
  • And Exuma was experiencing serious interest in domestic travel from New Providence before the quarantine was reinstated.
  • Not only will this damage our brand internationally, but it will further starve Exuma’s economy of vital tourism dollars.

What PM Minnis says

Dr. Minnis acknowledged that it was short notice as the measures come into effect on Thursday, but he said the measure is a critical part of the strategy to contain and to control the spread of COVID-19 throughout the country. He said this measure is designed to stop possible spikes on other islands because of individuals who may be COVID 19 positive, quickly moving to other islands.

What’s the plan?

The strategies employed by our health officials are as follows:

  • When there is an exponential increase in new confirmed cases of COVID-19 over a short period of time, restrictive measures will be put in place to mitigate the spread in that location.
  • The number of health officials on Exuma has increased, including a team consisting of contact tracers and members of the surveillance unit will be deployed to Exuma on Friday for further assessment.

Minnis Imposes Strict Measures for Exuma Too

Exuma’s COVID-19 cases are spiking, and like Eleuthera, restricted measures will be imposed to contain the spread of the infectious virus, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced on Wednesday night.

Why it matters

Thirty new cases of the virus were recorded for the week. As of November 10th, 79 total cases were recorded for the island, 29 are active cases, 2 individuals are hospitalized and one death was recorded due to COVID-19.

What are the new measures for the island?

The cays are excluded.

  • The 24-hour weekend curfew will be implemented beginning Friday 13th from 6 pm to 5 am.
  • During the weekend lockdown, businesses will be closed.
  • Weekday curfew is 6 pm to 5 am beginning Thursday 12th.
  • Businesses are permitted to open during the weekday, but Fishfry, bars, and restaurants connected to bars are not allowed to operate.
  • Domestic travel is prohibited in and out of Exuma.
  • A negative PCR test is required if an individual must travel from Exuma.
  • Grave-side funerals are permitted, only with a limited number of 10 people, excluding the officiant.
  • Weddings are limited to 10 people, excluding the officiant.
  • Repass and receptions are forbidden.
  • Churches can hold virtual services.
  • 10 people allowed in-person church services.
  • No in-person class sessions.

What PM Minnis said

  • Dr. Minnis said the data show that the situation in Exuma needs urgent action, thus officials have increased the nursing team on the island. A team will visit the island to further assess the situation.
  • He said the measures are short notice but they are essential to curtailing the spread on that island

 

Ministry of Tourism Back-Pedals On Negative COVID-19 Test Result for Bahamian Guests at Hotels

The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation is walking back a negative COVID-19 test requirement for Bahamians on hotel property, which has garnered criticism from the public.

The ministry says, “Following consultation with the Ministry of Health, the Competent Authority (who is Prime Minister Hubert Minnis) has affirmed that a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test will not be required by Bahamian and resident guests of hotels.”

Just yesterday, a press release from the ministry said hotels and resorts should not allow international guests nor Bahamian residents on property without negative COVID-19 test results, as the ministry said it was aware of special offers and packages being offered by hotels for Bahamian residents during the weekend lockdown periods.

Now today, the ministry says it has recommended, and the Competent Authority has agreed to, two provisions:

1. The Public Health measures that the Ministry of Health has put in place for the protection of the public, inclusive of mask wearing, social distancing and sanitization protocols, be strictly adhered to. These are detailed in the Emergency Powers Orders, on the Ministry of Health’s website and in the manual created by the Ministry of Tourism and approved by the Ministry Health for the reopening of our tourism industry.

2. Indoor dining is to be closed.

The ministry says the Royal Bahamas Police Force will be particularly vigilant in its surveillance of hotel properties to ensure compliance and warned that properties will be fined and/or closed per the Orders if they are found to be in violation.