Unless you can afford to cough up $134 for a COVID-19 RT PCR test, you won’t be able to dine in hotel restaurants, according to an amendment to the emergency order signed by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis on Friday.
According to the amended order, “A person who is not a current guest at a hotel or other commercial accommodation situate on an island specified in the Second Schedule shall be required to submit a negative COVID-19 RT PCR test result in order to check in as a guest or utilize any facility on the hotel premises including restaurants, casinos, etc.”
The change follows an embarrassing incident at Latitudes restaurant on Wednesday night when police officers showed up and ticketed patrons and the restaurant, stating they are prohibited from offering indoor dining.
However, the restaurant called its attorney Wayne Munroe QC who called Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle and pointed out to him that as a hotel, Latitudes is in fact allowed to offer in-door dining. Rolle then ordered the senior police officer at the restaurant to cancel all of the tickets issued to the restaurant and it’s patrons.
After the restaurant made this gaffe public, the Competent Authority rushed to amend the emergency order to prevent Latitudes and other local hotels from accommodating Bahamians at their restaurants going forward without the pricy test.
As a result of this change, in order for a couple to dine at a hotel restaurant, they must each spend $134 to be tested for COVID-19. That means they will spend $268 before they even set foot in a restaurant for dinner.
One wonders how major FNM backers the Holoweskos feel about this. They run Island House, which features in-door dining at restaurants that are popular among locals. Will Minnis be forced to walk back this decision after it cuts into the Holoweskos’ profits?