Limits on social gatherings among eased restrictions – Eye Witness News

Travel, churches and restaurants all see updated rules

Health Ministry warns restrictions could be tightened again if pandemic worsens

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Department of Health yesterday announced the easing of a number of restrictions implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus amid the fourth wave, with the curve flattening in the Bahamas over the past two weeks.

The changes to the Health Services Rules came into effect immediately.

Social gatherings may be hosted or attended inside a private residence of no more than 40 people.

Social gatherings may also take place at a facility once all attendees are fully vaccinated or test negative for COVID-19, in strict adherence to health protocols.

Indoor gatherings were previously limited to 20 people.

The amended rules now allow outdoor gatherings with a maximum of 100 people, up from 30 previously allowed.

All participants must be fully vaccinated or present a negative COVID-19 test.

A host who violates the rules for gatherings will be liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding $2,000 and a fine of up to $300 for each person present.

In the case of a participant, a violation of the rules results in a fine of up to $300.

Anyone entering the Bahamas or traveling between the islands from Grand Bahama and New Providence must obtain a COVID test within 72 hours or travel, and a negative rapid antigen test on the fifth day after arrival.

An RT-PCR test is required for those who are not vaccinated.

This test result must be submitted to the Department of Health and Wellness via its Travel Health website.

Those going to sea must undergo a rapid antigen test at the first port of call and submit the results to the government on the second day of their stay.

In the event of a positive result, the person must take an RT-PCR test and isolate themselves according to the rules.

Failure to do so is punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or imprisonment for up to one month.

Churches or places of worship in New Providence and Grand Bahama may hold services, including weddings and funerals, provided attendance is limited to 50% occupancy and all applicable health protocols are maintained .

Funerals may take place in the church with the casket or urn present.

A funeral service can also take place at a grave in accordance with health protocols.

Restaurant seating capacity has been increased to 75%, provided customers are fully vaccinated or provide a negative rapid antigen test.

In addition, indoor group exercises are permitted with a maximum of 30 people.

Yesterday the ministry said it remained encouraged by signs of progress.

He clarified that as the situation improves, the public can expect more revisions, but the reverse could happen, with further tightening, if the situation worsens.

The ministry encouraged residents to get vaccinated and, if necessary, to receive booster shots.

Sara H. Byrd