Bahamas News

Grocery Shopping Hours extended in The Bahamas, Family Islands exempt from schedule

#TheBahamas – April 8, 2020 — Grocery store hours have been extended for the general public until 10pm on Tuesday 7 April and Wednesday 8 April, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis announced today in a statement to the press.

On Thursday 9 April, food stores will also open from 6am to 10pm to accommodate essential workers only.

Health professionals, and members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force may shop from 6am to 12pm on Thursday.

Dr Hubert Minnis, Bahamas Prime Minister

From 12pm to 10pm Thursday, other essential workers may shop, including, corrections officers, NIB, social services, environmental health services, immigration, customs, waste disposal and sanitation companies.

Essential workers of core utilities, such as water and electricity or any other sector encompassing the provision of electronic communications including print and electronic media, may also shop from 12pm to 10pm on Thursday.

The announcement was made to address long lines at grocery stores.

The shopping schedule and physical distancing requirements remain in effect. Individuals must maintain a distance of at least six feet from others when out in public.

During the statement from the Office of the Prime Minister, Prime Minister Minnis urged members of the public to wear a mask when shopping.

Shoppers should also identify a designated shopper for each household and take a shopping list to the food store to cut down on the amount of time spent inside and as a courtesy to those waiting in line, said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister also announced that pharmacies will be allowed to operate until 3pm on Thursday 9 April.

Wholesale bakeries and water producers will be allowed to operate during the lockdown period to ensure the availability of bread and water when stores re-open on Tuesday 14 April.

Prime Minister Minnis assured the public that the country’s food stocks are healthy and that there is enough food for all residents.

“I know that these are very difficult and painful times but the decisions that we are making are to save lives,” said the Prime Minister.

“This situation is very fluid and therefore adjustments will have to be made as needed.”

Family Island communities exempted from shopping schedule

During a virtual meeting with Family Island administrators on Monday afternoon, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis exempted island communities from the food shopping schedule that went into effect on 6 April.

Dr. Hubert Minnis, Bahamas Prime Minister

Family Island store owners may manage shoppers based on strict physical distancing protocols already in place under the Emergency Powers Order 2020.

All Family Island food stores will also be allowed to operate until 7pm on Thursday to accommodate the delivery of food and supplies via mailboat and other shipping services.

The Prime Minister also extended special exceptions to certain islands based on specific needs related to fuel, cargo and inter-island ferry service.

During the meeting the Prime Minister also received an update from each administrator on the readiness of health care facilities and food and fuel supplies and other matters.

During his contribution in the House of Assembly on Monday, the Prime Minister said the shopping schedule was agreed after widespread consultation and discussion, including with the National Coordinating Committee.

The schedule will regularly allow all residents access to food shopping three times per week. It also allows for a specially designated time for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

The schedule also ensures that each group has access to at least one afternoon slot to accommodate essential workers.

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