In an official statement released by the Office of the Prime Minister on Friday, May 22nd, 2020, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis announced that the Bahamas has begun its transition to Phase 2 of the five-phase re-opening plan – which, it said, included the resumption of business operations in Family Islands with no presence of COVID-19, an increase in delivery and curbside operations, the addition of healthcare services and manufacturing industries, and the opening up of worship services.
The bulk of the statement included details on the resumption of worship services under specific conditions, and the further relaxation of business hours and days for designated exempted businesses and services outlined in the Emergency Powers (COVID 19) Order 2020. It reads as follows:
Effective Saturday 23 May worship services may be held in all Family Islands cleared to resume commercial activity (Abaco, Andros, Long Island, Cat Island, Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Cay, Ragged Island and Rum Cay) 2020 under the following conditions:
• Services may be held in the sanctuary;
• The church is responsible for providing hand sanitisation at the entrance to the church;
• All persons participating and attending the service must adhere to proper physical distancing, hygiene and sanitisation protocols;
• Persons must sit 6 feet apart, except if they are from the same immediate household;
• Persons are to remain in or at their seats;
• All persons must wear masks;
• Sunday School is not permitted;
• Communion may be held using disposable cups and distributors must wear a mask and gloves, and must exercise proper hygiene and sanitisation measures;
• There will be one offering station. Offering baskets should not be passed around;
• Persons that are in high-risk categories are asked not to attend the service, this includes persons age 65 and over and those with comorbidities.
On New Providence, Grand Bahama and other Family Islands not included above (Exuma, San Salvador, Eleuthera, Bimini and the Berry Islands), churches are permitted to hold services effective Saturday, 23 May 2020 under the following conditions:
• Services may ONLY be held as drive-up service where attendees are seated in their vehicles. No sanctuary service is permitted;
• Adequate parking must be available to accommodate the drive up service;
• Services must be limited to one hour;
• Vehicles may only have 4 persons from the same immediate household;
• Where an immediate household has more than 4 persons, the church leader is to issue a clear sign to be displayed visibly on the dashboard of the vehicle indicating that the church is familiar with the family and the immediate members exceed 4 persons;
• Vehicles must be parked at least three feet apart;
• Communion may not be held;
• There will be one offering station. Offering baskets may not be passed from vehicle to vehicle;
• Persons in high-risk categories are asked not to attend drive-up service, this includes individuals age 65 and older and those with comorbidities.
Services are permitted Saturday and Sunday only during the weekend lockdowns between 7am and 1pm.
Extension of hours and days of exempted businesses and services
Effective Monday, 25 May:
• Plant nurseries may operate Monday to Friday 6am – 5pm
• Hardware, lumber, plumbing, home and hurricane awnings and hurricane protection businesses allowed to operate Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm
• Auto parts stores allowed to operate Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm
• Clearing banks and Post Office Savings Banks allowed to operate Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm
• Money transmission businesses allowed to operate Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm
• Insurance companies allowed to operate Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm
• Financial services allowed to operate Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm
• Medical and health service facilities may provide non-emergency health services in accordance with operating guidelines outlined by the Medical Association of The Bahamas and the Ministry of Health.
New exempted business
• Dry cleaners may now operate Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.
The Bahamas has started to transition to Phase 2 of the five-phase re-opening plan. This phase includes the resumption of business operations in the Family Islands with no presence of COVID-19, increase in delivery and curbside operations, the addition of healthcare services and manufacturing industries, and the opening up of worship services.”
Office of the Prime Minister
Commonwealth of The Bahamas
22 May 2020
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