EMERGENCY ORDERS (COVID-19) & RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY
(Do’s and Don’ts)
During these unprecedented and uncertain times of Covid-19, the entire world is coming together in a show of solidarity and The Bahamas is no different! From the 17th of March 2020 to date, The Government of The Bahamas (“the Government”) has introduced various Emergency Orders, the result of which has been the implementation and enforcement of either, (i) lockdown or (ii) 24-hour curfew conditions.
The most recent lockdown was from Wednesday, the 8th of April from 9:00 p.m. to Tuesday, the 14th of April at 5:00 a.m. The Government has further directed that starting the 17th of April 2020, every weekend in April (until further notice) lockdown conditions will apply from Friday from 9:00 p.m. to Monday at 5:00 a.m.
The emergency orders delivered by the Prime Minister of The Bahamas indicated that there are still too many people regularly going “out and about” on the public roads and congregating. Accordingly, the orders are consistent and aligned with global practices to ensure “social distancing/self-isolation” protocols aimed specifically at combatting and reducing the spread and surge of the Covid-19 virus and eventually thus “flattening the curve”. Ultimately, the lockdowns have been put into effect to combat the spread by asymptomatic carriers, and the Government may and/or will impose further lockdowns as necessary, based on medical advice.
Under lockdown conditions, you may not leave the confines of your property, unless (1) there is an emergency, (2) you are an essential worker or (3) have been specifically exempted by the relevant authority. Before a lockdown period and immediately upon its expiration, the 24-hour curfew conditions will be in effect.
Lockdown Recreational Activities
- Stay at home!
- Households are permitted to use their private pool assuming it is only the home occupants using it and they have no guests;
- Persons are allowed to engage in outdoor exercise provided it is only taken within the confines of their property;
- As much as possible, wear medical or non-medical masks that entirely cover your mouth and nose;
- Leave your home under any circumstances UNLESS you are an exempted essential worker, or it is an emergency!
24-HOUR CURFEW CONDITIONS
During the 24-hour curfew, you may not leave your homes at all, unless (1) to buy essential items such as groceries, water, gas or pharmaceutical products, (2) you are an exempted essential worker, which includes those employed with government ministries, corporations or agencies, those essential workers of the various public utilities, or other exempted workers as outlined in the Emergency Powers (Lockdown) Order, 2020 (a detailed list is provided below), or (3) in the event of an emergency.
24-Hour Curfew Recreational Activities
- Wear medical or non-medical masks that entirely cover your mouth and nose;
- Try to wear masks at all times in public;
- Subsistence fishing only (no commercial fishing). Go out on your boat with only your family unit, leaving by your dock or yard, and observing social distancing protocols as far as possible.
- Exercise may be done between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. for an hour and a half (90 minutes) daily. Regularly exercising is good for physical, emotional, and mental health;
- Exercise within your property or on the roadways in your immediate neighborhood. Exercise may be done, either alone or together with family members (i.e. family units) living under the same roof. In gated communities, the roadways are not public within the community and persons are free to exercise, walk and/or cycle therein;
- In gated communities with canals, engage in physical activity such as paddle-boarding, etc.
- Spend time outside in the fresh air and sunshine – outside is still a safe place to be but all mandatory protections and precautions should be taken. Persons may (of course) opt to remain inside the whole time;
- Any person with respiratory issues should ensure they wear a face mask, self-isolate and contact health officials to discuss their conditions;
- Persons who are sick or have any symptoms should not go outside and should self-quarantine in a room in their house and follow the health protocols;
- Respect the Government’s mandates, the police, and other authorities;
- Use common sense and be respectful of others; and
- Travel with a Government-issued ID at all times.
- Exercise or walk with other non-family units or persons;
- Engage in any commercial fishing;
- Go to the beach, as this is strictly prohibited; and
- Leave your home, save and except and stated directly above, if it is not to buy essential items, exercise, or because of an emergency.
- Effective from the 6th of April 2020, until further notice, a food shopping schedule was implemented (“the alphabetical schedule”). Food shopping must be carried out according to the schedule released by the OPM. The schedule seeks to minimise physical exposure and interactions by allowing all residents to take advantage of shopping hours during 24-hour curfew periods and before lockdown periods take effect. Essential workers have also been accommodated under the shopping schedule as is more detailed below.
The alphabetical shopping schedule:
- Adults with the last name beginning A through F will be allowed to enter food stores to shop on:
- Mondays: 6 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- Wednesdays: 6 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- Thursdays: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Adults with the last name beginning G through O will be allowed to enter food stores to shop on:
- Mondays: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Wednesdays: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Fridays: 6 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- Adults with the last name beginning P through Z will be allowed to enter food stores to shop on:
- Tuesdays: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Fridays: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Thursdays 6 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- Special provisions have been made for individuals 60-years of age and older and persons with disabilities.
- Senior citizens and persons with disabilities may shop on Tuesdays from 6 a.m. to 12 pm; however, persons in these categories may also choose to shop on the day assigned to their last name.
- Each household is reminded to have a designated shopper who will be required to carry official photo identification showing proof of their last name.
- Physical distancing protocols/practices, keeping a minimum of at least six (6) feet or more from those around you must be observed AT ALL TIMES while in public.
- Anyone leaving home should wear a mask covering nose and mouth. Businesses may deny entry to anyone not wearing a mask.
- Cabinet is presently reviewing a proposed rental assistance program, which will be announced once it is finalised.
- Cabinet is developing a ‘suggestions and questions platform’ for use on the Office of The Prime Minister’s (“OPM”) website so that persons may submit non-health related suggestions and questions.
- The Government is also working to appoint a ‘Food Security Taskforce’(with a Chairman overseeing), to ensure that persons in need of food will be provided with it. It is intended that the task force will also make recommendations for domestic food production.
- The alphabetical schedule is temporarily suspended from Tuesday, the 14th of April to Friday, the 17th of April due to shortened week following the Easter public holiday, and is to be reimplemented on Monday, the 20th of April 2020.
- Grocery stores will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- During weekend lockdowns, grocery stores will be open 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and pharmacies until 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays for essential workers only as follows:
6 a.m. – 12 noon 12 noon – 6 p.m.- remaining essential workers
– health professionals; – core utilities (water, electricity, etc.);
– police officers; – department of corrections;
– defence force officers; – customs and immigration;
– clearing banks’ employees; and – social services;
– wholesale distributors’ employees – environmental health;
– waste disposal and sanitation; – fire services; and NIB
- Call 311 – Any exceptions to curfew or lockdown periods must be approved by the Commissioner of Police. The Royal Bahamas Police Force has a Covid-19 Command Centre number to call for shutdown and curfew-related inquiries.
- Call 411 – For those seeking general (non-emergency) information not related to health about Covid- 19.
- Call 511 – For those with Covid-19 emergency and health-related questions. Have your NIB number available when you call this line.
- Call 911 – For all other health emergencies and life-threatening conditions.
For further information regarding The Bahamas’ emergency orders, any amendments and other relevant information, please visit the Office of The Prime Minister’s website at https://opm.gov.bs/, as well as its dedicated Covid-19 page at https://covid19.gov.bs/.
Dated: 14 April 2020
Author: Damani Horton (email@example.com)
 In an effort to protect the nascent local mask manufacturing industry that has sprung up in The Bahamas overnight as a result of the COVID-19 virus, effective at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, the 10th of April 2020, the Government prohibited the importation of non-medical protective face masks. This prohibition does not apply to the importation of medical-grade masks for health care workers. The Government is also currently facilitating the production of washable and re-usable masks for the general public.
 Family units are presumed to maintain social-distancing protocols, but it is also assumed that they would be in close quarters in their own home.
 The relevant emergency numbers and descriptions are provided above.