In a nationally broadcast press conference on Sunday, Bahamian Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis spoke to his people about ongoing lockdown protocols to help prevent the spread of COVID 19.
The Prime Minister was encouraged by the effectiveness of curfews and other social distancing measures set forth in the Bahamas, warning that complacency now would mean undoing all our hard work to date. He was also critical of Florida for opening up some of their beaches, emphasizing that the Bahamas would not be following suit until deemed safe by their own medical community.
Florida opened their beach, we will not open our beach. We are guided not by Florida but we are guided by our own health professionals
Bahamas Beaches to Stay Closed
The Bahamas boasts some of the most beautiful resorts and beaches in the Caribbean, but they’ve been empty since mid-March when the Prime Minister called lockdown “a matter of life and death”. Along with beaches, sea and airports were closed and a 24-hour curfew was instituted.
When asked about easing restrictions in places like Florida, Prime Minister Minnis was clear who would be making the final decision to reopen the Bahamas.
“Florida opened their beach, we will not open our beach,” he said. “We are guided not by Florida but we are guided by our own health professionals.”
A Safe Return to Normal
Millions of people vacation in the Bahamas each year and the vast majority are Americans. Since the state of emergency was instituted, the islands have been closed to all incoming passengers. However, there have been discussions of new safety protocols for when visitors return. Keeping local citizens safe is a top priority and the plan is to open the islands slowly and systematically once it’s safe to do so.
In coordination with Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, the Prime Minister is in discussions with airlines and cruise ship operators on a set of standard protocols moving forward. That could potentially speed up the timeline for return when its declared safe to do so.