Shopping at Burchies
Customers shopping at the North Eleuthera Shopping Center (Burchie’s) during the national curfew in April 2020.

The Case For Lifting Restrictions in Eleuthera

The Government of The Bahamas made an excellent, and very difficult, decision when they shut down the air and sea ports in Eleuthera to inter-island and international arrivals. That move has almost certainly protected us from the Coronavirus being introduced to our island and to similar other family islands such as Exuma, etc.  However, unless the government is hiding something, (and I don’t believe that to be the case), then there has not been one single positive case of the virus detected in Eleuthera to date.

The isolation that the family islands often experience, and that sometimes works to our detriment has, in this instance, worked in our favour. Due to the difference in the incidence of exposure, the Family Islands need to be evaluated differently than Nassau when it comes to the application of restrictions. It is now the beginning of May. Health professionals around the world are quite unified in their opinion that persons who are infected with this disease will present symptoms generally within 2 to 3 weeks of contracting the disease. In Eleuthera, and indeed in the entire country, we have been under some form of local restriction for over 6 weeks now.  As there have been no new arrivals to Eleuthera in the past 6 weeks, and it is apparent that no-one currently on the island has contracted the virus or displayed symptoms since late March, then it would seem quite safe to say that there are no cases of the Corona virus here on Eleuthera.

If that is indeed true, then just who are we protecting ourselves from with the continued restrictions on local activity? Unfortunately, allowing any new arrivals to the island won’t be an option until a reliable test with immediate test results is developed and implemented at our points of entry. As a test like this currently doesn’t exist, it will likely be many months, at the very least, before we can admit new arrivals. In the meantime, as the health risk here in Eleuthera would seem to be negligible, it’s imperative that the local economy is freed up to operate as best we can in the absence of tourists. People still need to earn a living where possible and to be able to feed their families.

It’s an undeniable fact that the removal of restrictions is going to have to occur at some stage. While the introduction of the curfew, lockdown, business closures etc were a very necessary precaution, my argument is that the time for the removal of those restrictions here in Eleuthera is now.


Perry Attfield
Rainbow Bay