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Nassau residents stuck in Eleuthera

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

15 New Providence residents who travelled to Eleuthera on Bahamasair over the weekend to attend a funeral service are stuck on the island following an announcement by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis that all domestic flights or sea vessels traveling into or out of Eleuthera are prohibited at this time.

The group travelled from New Providence to Eleuthera on Friday to attend a funeral on Saturday. They were expected to return to the capital on Sunday but their return flight was delayed due to weather conditions associated with Tropical Storm Eta.

Their flight was rescheduled by Bahamasair for Monday. However, those plans flew out of the window when Minnis announced ramped up restrictions for Eleuthera during his national address on Sunday afternoon.

“We left November 6 and were supposed to return November 8. Bahamasair called at 7:15pm on November 7 to say that they were reaccomodating us,” according to one of the stranded travelers.

“Then on November 7, the PM sent a letter stating that no flights can fly out. We just found out that they gave Pineapple Air and Southern Air from Governor’s Harbour permission to fly out but not the passengers on Bahamasair or anyone else,” he added.

Flights and vessels are only allowed to leave Eleuthera in the case of an emergency.

“Flights approved by the Director of Civil Aviation and all sea vessels approved by the Bahamas Maritime Authority are also exempted,” according a statement released by the Office of The Prime Minister on Monday.

Minnis shut down travel to and from the island to prevent residents, who do not want to adhere to harsher restrictions, from leaving Eleuthera.

However, stranded passengers are angry that the Competent Authority failed to think this plan all the way through and gave no consideration to persons who are currently visiting Eleuthera. They were not afforded the opportunity to leave the island before a series of restrictions took effect today. Among travelers are employed persons who had jobs and families to return to on Monday.

They made no provisions to stay on the island past Sunday and are questioning how are they expected to afford living accommodations or to do their jobs on Eleuthera.

Residents are hoping that Minnis will show compassion and allow persons visiting Eleuthera to return home to their families.

On Sunday, Minnis announced weekend lockdowns and a nightly curfew for Eleuthera - with the exception of Spanish Wells and Harbour Island - due to a rise in covid-19 cases. The island has had a total 117 cases.

A new 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew will take effect on the island today and a full weekend lockdown will begin on Friday.

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