The Emergency Power Orders which have been extended for a period of 14 days will not be taken lightly and those found in violation of any of the laws outlined, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
So, indicated Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis earlier this week.
“Many individuals who would have felt that the lockdown and Emergency Orders may not have been in place yesterday (June 29), I want to re-assure them that there was no breakdown in the continuity of the Order.
“We are all aware of what is happening in the United States of America; we see in many states, the surge continues; infections are continuing; and hospitals are being maximized to the state of being overrun.
“Should that happen here, you can imagine that we, recognized at this particular time, especially our Family Islands as COVID free, you can imagine ... we must do everything within our powers to ensure that that does not happen with The Bahamas.
“We are taking this matter very serious Mr. Speaker and we continue to ask (point out to) our people and those who visit our shores, that it is mandatory, within The Bahamas, to wear facial masks and to wear it properly. Should they not, the fine of $200, one month imprisonment or both (will be enforced).
“We are taking this matter very seriously, as we have done so well in protecting our country, protecting our citizens and protecting those who visit our shores,” said the PM.
He informed that Cabinet has just recently agreed and passed, the establishment of a COVID Enforcement Unit.
Individuals will be traversing not only New Providence but throughout the entire Bahamas, aided and assisted by the police force and the relevant agencies, to enforce the laws with respect to mitigating and preventing COVID-19 from entering this country’s shores, he added.
“We are taking this matter very seriously and regardless of who the individuals may be - be it visitors, residents or citizens - if they are in violation of our laws, they will be dealt with properly,” stated Dr. Minnis.
He continued by sending a stern warning to a few particular business establishments on the island of New Providence that have been in violation of rules and regulations outlined in the Emergency Powers Order, and to any others that may also be in violation.
“They know who they are, and if they continue to behave in that manner, they too will be closed because we will not tolerate breaking our laws to place our citizens in danger. Our health care system in danger and possibly the collapse of our entire health care system, where individuals with a simple headache, would not be able to see a doctor.
“We are utilizing all of our services to deal with COVID matters. We will not allow that to happen. Individuals who break our laws, be it for money, greed or for anything else, we will deal with them appropriately,”he promised.
The PM urged residents to continue adhering to safety protocols.
“I want to point out that Bahamians must understand the great significance of wearing a mask. In fact, we now see that many states within The United States and other countries have now made the wearing of masks mandatory. In fact, like we have, (they) are introducing fines. One particular state has introduced a fine as high as $1,000, if masks are not worn. It is essential to wear these as they protect not only the individuals, but all those around them also.
“I also want to send a warning message and advisory message to those in the Family Islands - Exuma, Harbour Island, Eleuthera, Long Island - and other islands that do very well with respect to boating.
“There will be many yachts visiting our shores and we must be very vigilant to ensure that those visitors wear their masks and that we wear our masks. We must also ensure, and the authorities will be there, to ensure that they comply with our laws and that they present a COVID negative testing before they enter our shores, or whatever amendments are made to certain countries, that may not have COVID facilities available,” concluded Dr. Minnis.