Since Monday, the Department of Social Services has received more than 1,000 applications for assistance in light the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister of Social Services Frankie Campbell said on Friday.
“We introduced an email trying to get persons to apply electronically in light of the social distancing,” Campbell told The Nassau Guardian.
“It’s being promoted as a necessity and that was introduced on Monday and we’ve gotten over 1,000 requests from Monday to now.”
Asked if there has been a spike in requests, he replied, “Well, definitely, it is a spike. I’m not in a position to quantify it but definitely it is a spike.
“It is an expected, anticipated spike mindful that one of the main engines of our economy, tourism, is hit the hardest and so it is anticipated that there will be a spike.”
Thousands of people across The Bahamas have been laid off following Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ order that all non-essential businesses close amid the health crisis.
Some major resorts — like Atlantis and Baha Mar — have temporarily suspended operations after the country’s tourism industry came to a standstill.
This has led more citizens and residents to become dependent on assistance from social services.
Asked if the ministry had enough resources to meet this, Campbell said, “Social Services is not an entity onto itself.
“It’s a part of the government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. There is an allotment given to us but that is not written in stone.
“If the demand exceeds that which is now available then the government has a responsibility to find more.
“So, I’m not overly concerned about what we have as I am concerned more about ensuring that we bring some efficiency to delivering what is being requested.”
The department was allocated $39 million for this budget year.