Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister here on the island of Grand Bahama, Senator J. Kwasi Thompson, has informed that permission has been given for hardware stores to open as of Wednesday, July 29, and for the remainder of the two- week lockdown.
The decision has been made in order to allow the public to prepare for the possibility of a storm system. Thompson said residents should position themselves to be best prepared.
“The public should be aware that there is a tropical system, which is heading in the direction of The Bahamas. We want the public to monitor the potential storm and we want the public to be in a position to make all of the necessary preparations.
“We understand that, in Grand Bahama, we do have a lockdown and only certain stores were granted exemptions; food stores, pharmacies and gas stations. We wish to announce that the Prime Minister (Dr. Hubert Minnis), has also allowed hardware stores to also be opened, at the same time as our grocery stores and our pharmacies.
“We have also allowed residents to leave their premises to make the necessary hurricane preparations, in the event the storm affects The Bahamas, and, in the event that the storm affects Grand Bahama.
“We are also encouraging residents, as they do this, to ensure that they maintain the social distancing regulations; ensure that they also maintain wearing masks; and follow any and all health protocols that the stores may also ask you to comply with.
"We want to again say to residents that they ought to monitor the system that appears to be heading in the direction of The Bahamas,” said Senator Thompson.
Additionally, Thompson told Grand Bahama residents to be aware that there are two amended Emergency Orders. He emphasized that local residents should pay particular attention to the Order specifically for the island of Grand Bahama.
“Persons ought to be mindful of the Emergency Order for Grand Bahama because that order specifically affects what happens in Grand Bahama. There is another order that affects New Providence and the rest of The Bahamas, but there is a specific order that relates to Grand Bahama.
“That order lists those businesses that can be open and, it lists those essential businesses like the food stores, pharmacies, gas stations and the other essential businesses. If your (business) are not listed in the order, or if you are not granted a specific exemption, by way of a letter by the Office of the Prime Minister, the Competent Authority, all other businesses should be closed during the lockdown period.
“However, because of the impending storm, hardware stores will now be allowed to operate in the same manner that food stores are allowed to operate, so that persons can now go and purchase their necessary hurricane items, in order for preparation for what may possibly be an impending storm,” stated Thompson.
While hardware stores have now been granted permission to operate during the island’s two-week lockdown period, many residents are also calling for banks to be added to the list of businesses that should be allowed to open during this period.
The banks are, however, encouraging their customers to utilize their online banking platforms, as well as their Automatic Banking Machines (ABMs).
However, some residents, particularly seniors, pointed out that such forms of banking are not suitable to them.