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Bahamians depart as commercial carriers resume operations

EyeWitness News LocalJuly 2, 2020July 2, 2020 at 3:36 am Royston Jones Jr.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Charmaine Hutchinson, a Bahamian mother of two, dropped off her husband, children and grandson at the airport, all of whom were traveling to Texas yesterday. Wednesday marked the full reopening of the borders and the resumption of commercial carriers in and out of The Bahamas. While an estimated 500 international travelers arrived in The Bahamas, it was unclear how many departed yesterday. “They’re visiting Texas for a couple of months, and they’ll be back shortly,” Hutchinson told Eyewitness News outside of the departure terminal at Lynden Pindling International Airport. Texas, Fort Lauderdale and Arizona have emerged as new epicenter of the coronavirus as cases soar in those states and others. Asked whether she was concerned for her family’s safety given the rate of infections in Texas, said: “I am not too concerned. I have other children that are living in Texas. I’m not too concerned about that. I believe they will be okay. They will take the necessary precautions and they’ll be okay. On Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis urged Bahamians and residents against travelling overseas for non-essential travel at this time. He said the actions of The Bahamas’ citizenry could damage the health of others and worsen the economy if a lockdown was required because of a resurgence of infections. “If you are thinking of traveling for non-essential or non-emergency reasons, please, I beg you, stay at home at this time. Please stay at home,” Minnis pleaded during a national address. “A number of the cities and areas Bahamians and residents like to frequent in neighboring countries and cities are experiencing a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases.” He said if Bahamians visit these areas and malls, shops, restaurants, and another establishment, they could contract the virus and bring in back to The Bahamas. All individuals entering the country, with few exceptions, will be required to have a negatives COVID-19 test. Bahamians and residents who test for the virus within 10 days of departing do not have to retest to reenter the country, according to health officials. Among those departing yesterday was Lionel Agnes, a French national who was has been stuck in The Bahamas since late March. He was indifferent by the more than two months spent away from his home country. “That’s quarantine life; you stay inside,” he said. “Well, in France there is no more confinement. “No more rules, no more curfew. But Bahamians really respect facemasks. “In France, half the people don’t wear [any] masks.”

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