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Relaxing the rules - but let’s play safe

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE government has relaxed restrictions on social gatherings, indoor dining and churches in response to the continued decline of COVID-19 cases.

The new measures were outlined in a statement released from the Ministry of Health and Wellness and came into effect yesterday based on recommendations made by the advisory committee.

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The statement said church services in New Providence and Grand Bahama can now have a maximum seating capacity of 50 percent as opposed to the previous 25 percent occupancy limit.

Weddings and funeral services may also be held in a religious facility provided that all guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health are followed. A casket or urn can also be present during funeral services, the ministry added.

For social gatherings, people may attend or host events indoors at a private residence with no more than 40 persons who are either fully vaccinated or have a negative COVID test.

The same rule applies for gatherings held outdoors where up to 100 people are now allowed to attend.

 However, the ministry has warned that large events still remain prohibited at this time.

 “Anyone who hosts or attends a social gathering contrary to the above rules commits an offence and is liable upon summary conviction in the case of a host, to a fine not exceeding $2,000 and to a fine not exceeding $300 for each person in attendance, and in the case of an attendee, to a fine not exceeding $300,” the statement added.

 The rule also said that restaurants can operate indoors with a seating capacity of 75 percent provided that all customers are either fully vaccinated or have a negative COVID test.

“Masks are worn by patrons when dining, at all times except when eating or drinking,” the ministry added.

 Meanwhile, as it relates to travel, anyone entering The Bahamas or travelling to another island from Grand Bahama or New Providence is required to undergo a rapid antigen test on the fifth day upon arrival.

 The rules also said, “Anyone who is out to sea on the second day of his stay is required to undergo a rapid antigen test at the first port of call thereafter and submit the result to the Ministry of Health and Wellness via its travel health website.”

In the event where tests are positive, people are asked to take an RT-PCR test and submit to mandatory isolation in accordance with the rules.

 Failure to comply with these rules can result in a fine of up to $1,000 or a one-month prison sentence.

Indoor group exercises are also permitted with no more than 30 people.

 The easing of restrictions comes as COVID-19 cases continue to trend downwards in the country – with just 28 new cases recorded between Friday and Saturday, pushing the overall tally to 33,052 since the start of the pandemic.

 Two additional deaths that were previously under investigation were also confirmed as COVID related over the weekend, pushing the nation’s tally to 770. Meanwhile, 42 people are still in hospital with the virus.

  Yesterday, the ministry attributed the nation’s improving COVID situation to the public’s adherence to health and safety protocols and the government’s comprehensive strategy to combat COVID-19.

 The ministry also noted the many initiatives it implemented during the nation’s fourth wave.

 “(We) introduced free COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic residents in New Providence and Grand Bahama,” the statement said, “expanded the locations and methodologies to improve the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines, implemented a national distribution programme of the medical-grade masks to the community in partnership with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and NGOs (and) entered into purchase agreements for new pharmaceutical treatments for persons infected with COVID-19.

 The ministry also said it revised isolation and quarantine rules to reflect the science written on the ​behaviour of the virus.

 “It is noted that as the situation improves, the public can expect more revisions to remove or relax restrictions,” the statement continued.

 “However, the public is reminded that the relaxation of certain restrictions could be tightened if the picture of the pandemic worsens to reduce the further spread of COVID-19 and prevent risking injury to the economy.”

 In the meantime, Bahamians are encouraged to get vaccinated or receive their booster shot to safeguard themselves against the threat of the COVID-19.

 According to the government’s latest vaccine tracker, more than 160,000 people are fully vaccinated to date.

Comments

carltonr61 5 months, 3 weeks ago

https://m.jpost.com/breaking-news/art...">https://m.jpost.com/breaking-news/art...

Israel lead into vaccines and has jumped out by allowing non vaccinated to fly. What a great day.

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carltonr61 5 months, 3 weeks ago

UK has dumped all Covid rules. Even the Queen who is well vaccinated now has Covid.

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John 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Maybe one day we will find out exactly what the vaccines did. But we were at this point twice before. Relaxing the restrictions is fine but keep the response teams in place. Most believe this is the end of Covid, at least as a pandemic. Some countries are still experiencing high death rates so don’t throw caution to the wind

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ted4bz 5 months, 3 weeks ago

The world moved on,. This silly game is over, move on.

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sheeprunner12 5 months, 3 weeks ago

If a vaccinated person can still catch Covid, but is free to not wear masks in public ..... What sense does it make to have Covid rules?

That's how silly these rules are in reality

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tribanon 5 months, 3 weeks ago

And the power hungry corrupt political ruling class expect all of their underlings to be eternally grateful to them for the return of what were all along constitutionally guaranteed civil rights and liberties. What a joke!

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carltonr61 5 months, 3 weeks ago

So what do we do with Israeli tourists coming here who are now allowed to travel unvaccinated? Not sure if UK will allow their unvaccinated to travel also seeing that vaccinated transmit and get sick.

https://m.jpost.com/health-and-wellne...">https://m.jpost.com/health-and-wellne...

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DDK 5 months, 3 weeks ago

What about the wretched masks?? They need to go!!!

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sheeprunner12 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Go live on a deserted cay and be mask free

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ted4bz 5 months, 3 weeks ago

The mask was always the gaslighting tool, it was a flam. Just ignore it.

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ted4bz 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Now that they have their 15% depop within the jab demographic (as well as many suffering injuries and high cost medical and pharmaceutical bills for the rest of their lives), they just want people to stop talking about all of this and forget about this immoral tiresome subject so that no one is paying attention to the vax population, at least from this point onward. It is clear this was not about stopping covid, (the flu) or anything like that because it didn't, the flu cannot be stopped, so it wasn’t about that, it was about something other, and they know some of us knew that and got it right from the start. It is not over, more to come, much more, stay tuned.

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John 5 months, 3 weeks ago

On what authority does the CEO of Doctors Hospital speak when he says ‘A fourth wave is on the way,’ and there is definitely no data to support such claim? Whilst a fourth wave may be remotely possible, it is outrageous to make such claim in the absence of supporting data. What also appears patently counterproductive is those who are still pushing people to ‘go get vaccinated’. Or ‘take at least one booster shot.’ When ALL has agreed that NONE of the vaccines are effective against the Omicron variants. Virologists in South Africa, who were amongst the first to experience the omicron variants still suggest suspending vaccines in the absence of any other strains of Covid. And they strongly recommend persons who have recovered from Omicron NOT take the vaccines. The US has fallen from the number one spot it held for most of the pandemic for having the largest number of new cases to number seven. This following a 65 percent decline in new cases over the past few weeks. Russia now holds the number one spot and South Africa’s new cases has also fallen drastically. The UK has removed its mask mandate and also says persons who test positive for Covid no longer have to isolate.

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carltonr61 5 months, 3 weeks ago

After Duggis comment we can see the covid ballpark more clearly. All stock profit related medical industries may not be immune to power brokers having shares or a horse in the race to continue covid till eternity. Only that as the rest of the world responds to data then remove forced vaccinations and restrictions it baffles the world that The Bahamas is just digging in controls. In Canada the leader must have been promised Supreme ruler of the new Normal Global Empire. He is sticking with power delusion to the detriment of Canadian people. The vaccines allow spread and neither prevents covid after four revaccinations called booster shots. Measles Vax was once on a lifetime. There is scientific and medical insult to compare the two. No meficsl or scientific logic exists to enforce covid rules except control of humans through fear, for profits. Germany, Britain and Israel were used as example nations to impose covid policies on the globe but strangly has used their best science to dump those policies. But we suddenly do not follow them to save lives, save loved ones, save your neighbors by also dumping all mandates and restrictions.it is obvious that politically connected persons have a hand in the cookie jar as we are not in lockstep returning to normal with the rest of the world that lead us into this space in time. We are the world that time forgot. Yabba dabba doooooo medical advisors.

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carltonr61 5 months, 3 weeks ago

The argument used to maintain covid profits for the few is 'our unique position.' Meaning that phase was non existent when in March 2020 we locked down with one case. Our unique position did not matter as we followed the world. Now the world is saying covid is over but we have a unique set of data our national scientists says a fourth wave is coming I guess to cover the Bahamas only. What gro$$ folly.

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carltonr61 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Bahamian people know BS when we see it.

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