Businesses enacting plans to limit employee, customer contact

Businesses are beginning to enact plans to limit employee and customer contact following the announcement of the first coronavirus (COVID-19) case in The Bahamas.

Commonwealth Fabrics announced to its customers through an email yesterday that they can now make their transactions through Facebook, Whatsapp or via email, and should also make their payments electronically, by phone, wire transfer, or upon delivery or pick-up of an item.

“We greatly appreciate our customers and staff and would like the general public to be aware of changes we are implementing for the well-being of everyone in regards to COVID-19,” the company’s email stated.

“Shopping can be safely done via Whatsapp, email or Facebook.”

Commonwealth Fabrics is also offering its customers 20 percent off their purchase if they use these shopping methods.

On Sunday The Bahamas confirmed its first case of COVID-19 here in New Providence and the government immediately put actions in place to mitigate its spread, including closing schools for one month.

The Access Accelerator/Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) is using technology to continue holding its classes and to have advisors meet with their clients. In a statement sent to its clients yesterday, the SBDC noted that in an effort not to delay the next session of its classes, it will implement digital versions. Digital and distance learning is something the business developer said it had in the making, but is now pushing forward due to COVID-19.

“As we monitor the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Access Accelerator will move to digital systems for all planned classes, workshops, seminars and advisement,” SBDC’s statement revealed.

“The move to online meetings was previously planned for operational efficiency, but is being expedited as a preventative measure to ensure the safety of all clients and staff and a way to assist The Bahamas in maintaining its low number of cases.

“The move to online platforms includes the postponement of the classes set to begin on March 23, 2020. In the coming weeks, we will make announcements via email and/or social media on how to connect to classes, workshops or seminars hosted by the Access Accelerator.

“For clients already assigned advisors, your advisor will continue to contact you via telephone, email, video conference and/or Whatsapp as we temporarily cease in-person meetings.”

The government has asked that Bahamians begin practicing social distancing, something that has now become the new normal until the worry over the spread of COVID-19 has passed.

“This move to a digital system is a preventative step, as limiting physical interaction has proven throughout many countries to be the best means of prevention and containment,” the SBDC pointed out.

Chief Executive Officer of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) Jeffrey Beckles told Guardian Business yesterday that businesses should have plans in place for such emergencies to lessen their economic impact.

He said utilizing technology during global crises should become second nature for Bahamian businesses, especially since Hurricane Dorian.

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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