Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.
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Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minis said we are continuing to make progress in containing the spread of COVID-19, with no new cases for the fourth day in a row.
In his national address on Sunday, Dr Minnis also announced that Cat Island, Long Island, Abaco and Andros will be able to resume commercial activity on Monday and the opening for commercial travel could possibly be on or before July 1.
Key points from the Prime Minister’s address:
• While Cat Island, Long Island, Abaco and Andros can resume commercial activity on Monday, weekday curfew measures and weekend lockdowns will remain in place, as will social distancing measures and the requirement to wear masks.
• Dr Minnis said the government is well advanced in planning for the reopening of the tourist sector and reopening borders. Ports are finalising safety protocols that would allow for reopening. Extensive guidelines will be designed to provide for reasonable assurance that travel and leisure are generally safe.
• The Prime Minister says opening will only be allowed where the outbreak has been contained. The opening date for commercial travel could be on or before July 1, but dates may change depending on the circumstances.
• Pharmacies can operate 9am-5pm Monday to Friday for the general public and on Saturdays for essential workers. Exercise can take place on Saturday and Sunday from 5am-8am in your immediate neighbourhood.
• The government is about to begin the reopening of inter-island travel. Those wishing to travel must register by calling 511 or e-mailing authorities. Individuals must be examined by a physician and the evaluation will include a risk assessment by questionnaire. Individuals will be issued a COVID-19 authorised travel card if approved. In the first phase of travel, residents of Family Islands trapped in New Providence can go back home after going through the process – which begins on Wednesday. Those travelling will need a government-issued ID card in addition to the COVID-19 travel card. Residents in the islands listed earlier may travel between those islands without receiving a COVID card, by plane or by boat.
• The repatriation of Bahamians abroad will resume this week – with exercises on Thursday and Saturday. The Prime Minister said the system has been streamlined to avoid a repeat of an incident where a passenger with a positive test was able to board a plane home.
• With regards to the Bimini lockdown, which begins on Monday, Dr Minnis said there will be sufficient food and supplies on the island. Groceries and supplies arrived at the weekend by boat ahead of the lockdown. Some 600 food vouchers were handed out by Social Services on Friday and 100 food packages have been distributed.