The prime minister’s announcement that retailers would be allowed to serve customers in-store was announced in the nick of time, it appears, as the Bahamas Federation of Retailers (BFR) yesterday opined that there would have been many business closures announced this coming week if they were unable to resume regular operations.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced that beginning today retail shops, including pharmacies, may resume serving customers within their stores instead of curbside as they have been for the past several weeks.
In a statement yesterday, the BFR stated not only are store owners relieved, they’re thrilled.
“We are heartened and relieved that the prime minister in conjunction with the Ministry of Health has given permission to the retail sector to open our doors once again to our valuable customers in-store. The retail community is beyond thrilled to get back to work, but recognize we have a long road ahead,” the federation stated.
“There were many business closures about to be announced this coming week if we were unable to resume regular operations. These businesses will now be given the chance to survive under extremely challenging times.”
It was just about a week ago that retailers said “enough is enough” and demanded an end to curbside restrictions, threatening that 20,000 jobs in the sector were at risk.
The prime minister said yesterday that retail operations must follow the protocols outlined by the BFR in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, as he urged residents to adhere to social distancing and health and safety protocols.
“The health and safety protocols outlined by the Ministry of Health and suggested by members of the Bahamas Federation of Retailers are imperative to remaining open. We encourage our members to continue following these protocols and thank everyone for the tremendous support and feedback over the last several months,” the federation stated.
“We certainly appreciate your commitment and compliance that ensures we remain sustainable and open for our employees and customers as we head into this critical holiday season. The BFR stands ready to assist with educational initiatives to facilitate safety measures for the retail sector in order to stay open safely, systematically and sustainably.”
The prime minister said he relaxed restrictions because there was a 50 percent decrease in new COVID-19 cases between October 10 and November 5, and in the last seven days, new COVID-19 cases decreased by eight percent.