Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Bahamas eases COVID-19 restrictions on Grand Bahama and Family Islands Sept. 25. Curfew remains in Grand Bahama, New Providence, Abaco.

Alert Begins 25 Sep 2020 10:51 AM UTC
Alert Expires 08 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Commercial and transport disruptions

Summary
As of Sept. 25, authorities in the Bahamas are continuing the gradual easing of restrictions on Grand Bahama and the Family Islands as part of the nation's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) recovery plan; however, stricter measures will remain in New Providence and Abaco. Officials have lifted the 2200-0500 curfew on all islands except Grand Bahama, New Providence, and Abaco. Nationwide requirements to adhere to social distancing and sanitization protocols, and to wear a facemask in public, remain in place.

First Schedule Islands
As of Sept. 25, normal commercial activity and most social activities may resume on Grand Bahama, as well as the Family Islands of Acklins, Andros, Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Crooked Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Inagua, and Mayaguana. These islands will now join the list of First Schedule islands where most restrictions have already been relaxed, including Chub Cay, Long Cay, Long Island, Harbour Island, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador, and Spanish Wells. Church services, funerals, and weddings may proceed, but physical distancing protocols must be adhered to, and individuals must wear facemasks. Social gatherings are to be limited to 20 people.

Slightly stricter measures will remain in Grand Bahama; in addition to the curfew, beaches will be restricted to opening 0500-1200 only.

Second Schedule Islands
Current emergency orders will remain in place in New Providence and Abaco, albeit with some revisions. Most businesses were previously permitted to open subject to industry-specific opening hours, operating protocols, and public health measures. However, casinos, bars, discos, and cinemas, are to stay closed, and regattas, festivals, and similar events remain prohibited. Other revised and existing measures as of Sept. 25 are:

 

  • Wedding receptions are permitted outdoors only.

 

  • Funeral services may be held at religious facilities; however, graveside services are still limited to 10 people in attendance.

 

  • Gyms may reopen across all islands.

 

  • Restaurants may offer indoor dining services, except in New Providence.

 

  • Social gatherings of up to a maximum of 10 people are permitted, except in New Providence.

 

  • Individual outdoor exercise limited to one's neighborhood is permitted 0500-2200; group exercise is permitted 0500-1200.

 

  • Beaches and parks may open 0500-1200 daily on New Providence, though beaches may open 0500-2200 on Abaco.

 


International and Domestic Travel
International commercial and private flights, as well as sea vessels, may enter the Bahamas. All travelers, regardless of country of origin, are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine in a government facility upon arrival at their own expense. Travelers must also present a negative COVID-19 test certificate taken no more than five days before travel. Travelers who fail to present this document will be denied entry. Contact tracing applications must be installed on smartphones. All inter-island travel has resumed; however, domestic travelers may also be subject to the quarantine protocols. Travelers may need to present a negative COVID-19 test depending on the islands they are traveling between. Local and international cargo and emergency aircraft and sea vessels continue to operate.

Background and Analysis
Several regional governments have begun implementing recovery plans to lift restrictive measures introduced in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) March 11. Relaxed restrictions may be reapplied if the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increases. This is especially likely on the more densely populated islands of Grand Bahama, Bimini, and New Providence, where the capital and commercial hub, Nassau, is located. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in a further relaxation of restrictions.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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