Some businesses that can operate through take-out, delivery and curbside service will be able to reopen their operations on August 31, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis revealed yesterday, warning though that private sector operators must adhere to the protocols put in place to guard against the spread of COVID-19.
Minnis made the declaration during a press conference to update the nation on COVID-19, where he also revealed that New Providence will continue to operate under the current emergency orders until August 31.
The prime minister admonished business owners to prepare themselves to safely reopen their businesses next week.
Many of those businesses include restaurants and small eateries, which can now again offer outdoor dining. Vendors at Arawak Cay and Potter’s Cay Dock will only be allowed to offer curbside, take-away and delivery.
“We will continue to monitor and analyze the data during the course of the coming week. If the data points to it, we will announce the relaxation of some other measures,” Minnis said.
“For many businesses who may not be allowed to be opened before Monday, if the data is favorable and points in the direction, then the restrictions on those businesses can be relaxed and those businesses can be opened even sooner.”
Chief Executive Officer of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) Jeffrey Beckles said the Chamber had been lobbying for the competent authority to allow businesses to operate under COVID-19 protocols and restrictions to reduce the downside impact on the country’s economy.
“I thought today’s national address was extremely positive for the business community and for everyone, but the Chamber is extremely elated that our recommendations and our contributions yielded this kind of result today and the work is just now beginning, in that it’s going to take a collective effort to get our businesses open, to get our people back to work and to manage within the confines of the protocols that have been put in place,” said Beckles.
“And, so, I believe that every business owner is excited to buy in and to participate in this collective effort, so we’re very happy as a chamber to see that the work that we have been putting in and the great pressure, has materialized in the announcements of today.”
Beckles said the BCCEC will work along with the Ministry of Health and other agencies to get the word out on the protocols for safe opening and the safe return to work.
“This whole idea of working together is to ensure that we comply, so that our sectors remain open,” he said.
“I’m happy to see what has gone on in the Family Islands and Grand Bahama in particular, which has been really depressed in its economy and we’re just happy that even they and the other Family Islands were able to get some liberty today.”