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02 Dec 2020 | 11:32 AM UTC

Bahamas: Authorities amend COVID-19 curfew December 2 /update 14

Bahamas government amends COVID-19 curfew to 22:00-05:00 as of December 2; follow government directives

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As of Dec. 2, authorities in the Bahamas have standardized the curfew measures in Grand Bahama, New Providence, and Abaco, as well as Exuma and Eleuthera, where special measures are still being enforced. The curfew has been slightly relaxed and is now being enforced 2200-0500 daily across all of these areas. Only essential services may operate during the curfew. The nationwide internal restrictions remain unchanged, including requirements to adhere to social distancing and sanitization protocols and to wear a facemask in public. Varied measures across the islands are noted below.

Measures in Eleuthera and Exuma

In both mainland Eleuthera and Exuma, all private and public social gatherings are still prohibited. Weddings and funerals (graveside only) must be limited to 10 people in attendance only; receptions and repasts are prohibited. Church services and teaching must be conducted virtually. However, restaurants in Eleuthera may now reopen for indoor and outdoor dining at 50-percent capacity, while restaurants in Exuma may only open for outdoor dining at 50-percent capacity. Beach visits are permitted between 0500-2200 with groups no larger than five people.

All nonessential domestic travel to and from the affected islands will remain suspended as long as the special measures are in place.

Second Schedule Islands

In addition to the curfew, other measures in place in New Providence and Abaco as of Dec. 2 are:

• All social gatherings are prohibited.

• Everyone who can work from home should.

• Outdoor dining at restaurants is permitted Monday-Saturday; restaurants may only offer takeaway and delivery services on Sundays. Sit-in dining is permitted at hotels. • Approved businesses may operate 0600-2100 Monday-Saturday; grocery stores may operate 0600-2100 daily.

• Schools are closed to in-person teaching.

• Cultural and entertainment facilities, spas and gyms, and craft markets are to remain closed, and all festivals are prohibited.

• Beaches visits are permitted with a maximum of five people per group.

• Exercise is permitted in one's immediate neighborhood 0500-2200; group exercise is to be limited to a maximum of 10 people.

• Weddings and graveside funerals are limited to 10 people in attendance only. Wedding receptions, wakes, and repasts are not permitted.

• Worship services are permitted 0600-2100 on weekdays and 0700-1300 on weekends. Churches may also offer individual/private prayer during the week.

• Persons traveling from New Providence to the Family Islands must complete a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine.

First Schedule Islands

Normal commercial activity and most social activities have resumed on all remaining islands, including Grand Bahama and the Family Islands of Acklins, Andros, Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Crooked Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Inagua, and Mayaguana, as well as Chub Cay, Long Cay, Long Island, Harbour Island, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador, and Spanish Wells. Operating protocols are in place for some industries. Church services, funerals, and weddings may proceed, but physical distancing protocols must be adhered to and individuals must wear facemasks. Social gatherings are to be limited to 20 people.

Stricter measures are in place in Grand Bahama, which is classified under the First Schedule, including the long-standing curfew. Beaches may open 0500-0800 daily. Wedding receptions and funeral repasts are prohibited.

International Travel

The Bahamas has reopened to all international travel; entry requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic are still in place:

• Travelers over the age of 10 must present a negative COVID-19 test certificate taken no more than five days before travel and apply for a Travel Health Visa. Travelers who fail to present these documents will be denied entry.

• Persons visiting the country for more than four nights/five days will be required to take a rapid COVID-19 antigen test on day five.

• Since Nov. 14, travelers have been required to opt-in to COVID-19 health insurance, as part of the Travel Health Visa application.

All measures are subject to amendment at short notice.

Context

All measures are subject to change at short notice. Relaxed restrictions may be reapplied on First Schedule Islands if the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increases. This is especially likely on the more densely populated islands of Grand Bahama, Bimini, and New Providence, where the capital and commercial hub, Nassau, is located. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in a further relaxation of restrictions.

Advice

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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