COMMISSIONER of Police Paul Rolle.
By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
POLICE Commissioner Paul Rolle said his officers will be out in full force to enforce new COVID-19 restrictions, as he revealed that officers have faced challenges recently with young people hosting parties.
A weekend lockdown takes effect today at 7pm until 5am Tuesday. Businesses – including food stores and pharmacies – have been ordered to close during this period and people will only be allowed to leave their homes if they are deemed an essential worker. In person worship is allowed at a church for one hour on Saturday and Sunday.
“I would want to encourage residents... abide by these rules,” Commissioner Rolle said.
“The lockdown takes effect 7pm on Friday and we will be out, the police will be out, ensuring compliance with it, and so we are asking people to just abide. In recent weeks we’ve been having a lot of challenges with young people in particular having social gatherings and parties.
“I want to say to them, not to do that. If we find that happening, we’ll be taking a more stiffer approach with those persons who seek to defy those orders.”
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced the stricter measures for New Providence and Abaco on Wednesday, amid troubling COVID-19 statistics for the two islands.
He said a 7pm to 5am daily curfew and weekend lockdowns will be in place until the situation improves.
Beaches and parks in Abaco and New Providence also will be closed beginning Friday and only virtual learning is permitted for students on both islands.
Sea and airports will continue to operate and there will be no interruption to flights.
Additionally, during the week, religious services may continue based on the Bahamas Christian Council guidelines approved by the Ministry of Health.
Churches may also open for individual/private prayer during the week. However, other restrictions regarding funerals and weddings will be enforced.
On Wednesday, Dr Minnis said health officials have recommended reverting to previous protocols.
As such, in addition to the officiant and the undertakers, 10 people will be permitted to attend a funeral, which may now only take place at the graveside. Wakes and repasts will not be permitted.
As far as weddings are concerned only ten people will be permitted at a wedding, while wedding receptions will not be permitted.
Exercise is permitted in a person’s neighbourhood Monday to Friday, between 5am and 7pm, but exercise on the weekend may take place only within a person’s yard.
Gyms will once again be closed.
The Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) has 165 confirmed cases, inclusive of officers and civilian staff, and one COVID-19 related death. Yet, the commissioner expressed confidence in having enough officers to man the upcoming lockdown on both Abaco and New Providence and the other restrictions.