By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
RESTAURANTS can now operate between 5 AM and 9 PM daily as stated in an update in the emergency powers order on Friday.
Mobile takeaway restaurants can also operate between 5 AM and 9PM, but will need a valid business licence issued under the Bahamas Licence Act, 2010 and been certified by the Ministry of Health. These mobile takeway restaurants must also meet aesthetic standards as approved by the Ministry of Works and been granted written approval by Commissioner of Police to occupy a location.
This comes after it was reported in The Tribune on Monday that the Myers Group of restaurants was allegedly allowed to remain open until 9 pm while other businesses have to follow the general rule of closing by 8 pm.
A letter dated July 9, 2020 was signed by David Davis, the permanent secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, and addressed to George Myers, the chairman and CEO of the Myers Group.
The letter said: “I refer to your letter dated 3rd July, 2020, and in which you requested permission for your restaurant group (Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts and Anthony’s Caribbean Grill) to remain open until 9pm. Please be advised that the ‘competent authority,’ the Most Hon Prime Minister, has approved your request.”
Attorney General Carl Bethel had previously told this newspaper that an order had been prepared to permit all restaurants to remain open until 9pm. However, nothing relating to that was released at the time.
The Emergency Powers (COVID-19 Pandemic)(Amendment)(No. 2) Order 2020 permits indoor dining provided the restaurant's seating has a maximum of 50 percent occupancy with a minimum of 30 square feet per person.
Restaurants will have to arrange seating in line with physical distance protocols. Staff will wear masks and sanitise tables, chairs and other implements used after each patron. Patrons also will be required to wear masks when entering and leaving.
However, restaurants and food vendors at Arawak Cay are unable to do indoor dining. These establishments were only permitted to operate under a clause for those unable to carry out the guidelines needed for indoor dining. This clause permitted those businesses to only operate utilizing curbside pick-up or delivery, drive-thru, take away, or outdoor dining.