Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. (File photo)
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has announced new restrictions to movement only for residents of New Providence and Abaco due to high COVID-19 case numbers, that have now forced the health care system to the edge of “collapse”.
Beginning this Friday at 7pm, a 24-hour curfew will be enforced each day throughout the holiday weekend until Tuesday at 5am.
The same will follow for subsequent weekends - Fridays at 7pm to Mondays at 5am.
Additionally, a daily curfew of 7pm will be enforced. Dr Minnis did not say when these new restrictions will end, but he said it depended on an improvement of the current situation.
“The persistently high case numbers – particularly on New Providence – have placed immense strain on our healthcare system and our medical professionals,” Dr Minnis said in the House of Assembly Wednesday.
“Our hospitals are full. Medical teams have been pushed to their capacity. If there is further deterioration in the COVID-19 situation on our most populated island we risk a collapse of the healthcare system.”
During the 24-hour weekend lockdowns, food stores, pharmacies, gas stations, construction sites and laundromats are prohibited from opening.
Dr Minnis said no social gatherings will be permitted, adding a new hotline has been established for residents to anonymously report such prohibited activity. That number is 702-9967.
He said police will clamp down and enforce the law strictly where mass gatherings are found.
Authorities will also be keeping a keen eye out for Airbnb rentals that break Emergency Powers Orders.
Regarding restaurants, outdoor and indoor dining is prohibited. However, hotels with guest are allowed to offer outdoor dining for visitors.
The new Emergency Orders will further include harder restrictions for businesses who are found in breach of protocols.
In the first instance a business will be fined, but if found in contravention of orders a second time, the business will be ordered shut for 14 days.
Full details in tomorrow's Tribune.