Prime Minister Minnis announces 24-hour curfew

Prime Minister Minnis announces 24-hour curfew, closure of airports, beaches, docks and ports

Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis has announced a new and expanded Emergency Powers Order to fight the COVID-19 coronavirus, including a 24-hour curfew that takes effect Tuesday 24 March and the closure of airports, beaches, docks and ports.

The new measures, known as the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) (No.2) Order, follow the implementation of the original Order that came into effect on Friday 20 March.

“We cannot afford to let this deadly and dangerous virus spread widely in our country. If we do we will have many deaths,” the Prime Minister said in a live National Address on Monday 23 March.

“During this crisis we put in place emergency orders as soon as possible. But now we must do even more in order to save lives. We are in a race against time.”

Under the expanded curfew, every person should remain in their place of residence, inclusive of their yard space, except for essential workers, those who work for a business exempted under the act, and for essential purposes, such as travel to the doctor, grocery store, bank, pharmacy or to refuel.

Everyone must also work remotely from home, except for essential workers or essential workers for exempted businesses. All other establishments must close if working remotely is not possible.

Businesses will also be required to enforce strict physical distancing protocols inside and outside of their establishments. Supermarkets are being encouraged to designate the hours between 9am and 11am specifically for the elderly and disabled.

As it relates to ports, all airports and docks have been ordered closed. Airports are closed to incoming international flights carrying visitors, and all seaports are closed to regional and international seafarers and private boating.

Outgoing flights and ships are permitted under the Order, as well as cargo flights and cargo ships, commercial courier flights, emergency medical flights and emergency flights approved by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Mailboats are permitted to continue inter-island cargo and freight services; however, they may not carry passengers.

The Fish Fry at Arawak is closed, as well as Potter’s Cay Dock for any commercial activity, including the sale of fish, conch or any other catch.

All public beaches are closed.

Travel on public and private roads is also prohibited under the order, except for essential purposes.

The Prime Minister urged Bahamians to take the Order seriously and follow the advice of medical professionals.
“To stop COVID-19 from spreading, each of us is a soldier or warrior in this battle. Our personal and collective behaviour is the best way to fight this threat,” said Prime Minister Minnis.

“Do not invite people over to your homes to socialize. Do not hang out with friends. Do not have house parties. If you do not heed the warning, you could catch this virus. It could kill you.”