April 26, 2022
Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said yesterday that plans are underway to lift the mask mandate in The Bahamas in the coming weeks. Asked by reporters if the relaxation will come before summer, Davis said: "If I were to put a timeline on it, by summer, by summer for sure, or even sooner."
Speaking on the sidelines of the groundbreaking of FTX’s new headquarters, Davis said members of the public have demonstrated that they are responsible enough for such a move.
“We are pleased with the manner in which the Bahamian people have become so responsible about taking care of themselves and looking after others,” he said.
“Hence you see how our numbers are very low.
“We always believed that if we leave it to the Bahamian people, they know how to take care of themselves.
“Measures are really not the answer to what we are having. It’s responsible conduct and responsible living.
“We always believe that Bahamians could live responsibly. That is what we are seeing, the result of that. We just needed to trust the Bahamian people, which we have done.”
Davis said there are concerns about ventilation in some indoor spaces.
“Right now outdoors has been relaxed,” he said.
“It’s only indoors until we are sure that some of the indoor venues could have proper air ventilation to ensure that the virus is not being trapped and that is now being considered by the experts as to when we should lift the mask mandate.”
As of the latest health rules, masks are not required “in a lobby, corridor, or casino of a hotel, or while in an outdoor setting where there is at least three feet of space between persons who are not of the same household”.
Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper indicated that the government was considering the further relaxation of COVID rules in The Bahamas, noting that hotels were pushing for the end of the mask mandate and testing to enter the country.
Davis said yesterday, however, that testing at the borders will likely remain in place for the time being.
“I don’t know whether we are there yet to eliminate testing altogether,” he said.
“I know some countries have, but as we have discovered, most of our cases to date are travel-related. And if it’s all travel-related then we need to ensure that people coming in are not bringing the virus with them.
“…That is on the table, but instinctively I am concerned about it at this stage and until we are sure that the virus is either gone or it can be so managed and treated that the…testing would not be necessary.”
Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian