‘Disappointment’, ‘devastation’ for Arawak Cay businesses

Trudy Johnson has owned a small bar and grill, which is named after her, on Arawak Cay, for just over four years.

If The Bahamas continues to experience a surge in COVID-19 cases, it is likely her business will be shuttered by September.

“I’m very worried because, like I said, I have responsibilities,” Johnson told The Nassau Guardian.

“They’re not making it easy for me.”

On Sunday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis ordered the closure of Arawak Cay and Potter’s Cay following the confirmation of 49 new cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas since July 8.

He said those closures will remain in place until officials are able to ensure that better social distancing can be practiced and enforced.

This is the second time the prime minister has ordered the closure of those areas in recent months.

In late-March, Arawak Cay, Potter’s Cay as well as hundreds of other businesses in The Bahamas, were ordered closed.

Vendors like Johnson were not able to reopen their restaurants until mid-June.

She said she hopes the most recent closure is not as long.

“I am hoping I can reopen by the end of the week,” she said.

“I won’t be able to manage very long. Honestly, I have bills. I just started to try to catch up with bills. I was closed and I am still getting cable bills. I’m getting $300 light bill and I’m not there.”

Johnson added, “The first time they closed us down, I had inventory that I lost. They said when we were reopening that we must go and get the necessities. We had to follow some protocols. I went and got the temperature gauge, signs.

“That cost me money again. So, I had a good weekend and I went Saturday and stocked up for this week.

“Now, the perishables and stuff, that’s another set of stock that I’m losing. It’s impacting me seriously because that’s my only source of income. I have no other income. So, what they’re doing now is having me spend money to lose it.”

For Haymish Moxey, owner of Gone Fishing, the closure is both “devastating” and “disappointing”.

Moxey said he ensured social distancing and other health protocols were adhered to at his open-air, beach-side restaurant following its reopening last month.

“I feel like it’s the innocent suffering for the guilty,” Moxey said.

“It’s unfair, while understanding what the government is trying to do at the same time, for businesses to close. All these other businesses and restaurants are allowed to open. Why are we suffering because of it?

“I don’t understand it and I don’t like it.”

Vincent McDonald, owner of Curly’s restaurant at Arawak Cay, shared similar comments.

He said he was “appalled” and “saddened” by the prime minister’s announcement.

“What we see today happening at Arawak Cay is an outright attack on Arawak Cay and its people,” McDonald said.

“Our families are hurting. There is no reason there has been no collaboration, no forewarning on what would have happened or what kind of action is to be expected. I don’t run my home that way. I don’t run my business that way.

“So, I don’t expect my leaders to run the country this way. It’s wrong.”

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