More than 300 Fusion employees to take unpaid leave during COVID-19 shutdown

More than 300 Fusion employees to take unpaid leave during COVID-19 shutdown
Fusion Superplex. (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A nationwide partial shutdown over the next 11 days will mean that popular entertainment venues like Fusion Superplex will have to close their doors.

Chief Operating Officer Carlos Foulkes told Eyewitness News that close to 400 workers will be asked to take unpaid leave.

Foulkes said COVID-19 fears and the need for social distancing would directly impact the entertainment venues business.

“Our business itself is a public assembly business,” he said.

“The closing of our business cannot be done partially it is either open or not. We will take instruction from the government. We look to them for guidance on the next step.

“If that results in a closure order we will obliviously be forced to follow the government’s instructions. In theory I do not oppose it. I understand what we are facing and if the authorities believe this is the best course of action that will result in us putting the staff on unpaid leave”

Foulkes said: “We have no intention of laying off staff, outside of normal termination for lack of performance which is an ongoing matter within business. We do not have any layoff exercise planned.

“In a situation like this we would have them go on unpaid leave. Without revenue coming in it is not possible for us to continue to pay staff especially since we are start-up business.

“We have not gotten to the point yet where we have profit levels to sustain employment without revenue coming in. We will call staff back in to work and they will resume employment under normal conditions when the authorities give the all clear.”

Foulkes noted that Fusion Superplex has 376 employees.

“That’s a large employment factor,” he continued.

“I hope the government takes our situation into consideration and maybe offer some of the off time assistance that was referred to in Parliament.”

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has ordered that as of today a curfew will be imposed across the country and all businesses, with limited exceptions, will suspend operations for a the next 11 days in an effort to fight COVID-19.

The Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Order, 2020, include a nightly curfew and shutdown of all non-essential businesses and organizations, public transportation and commercial sailing; and all events, parties or gatherings.

At a press conference, yesterday Minnis stressed these were temporary measures as all residents must play a role in protecting the health of families and loved ones from the highly contagious virus.

The curfew will be in effect each night from 9pm to 5am, with exceptions to be approved by the commissioner of police.

The order takes effect at 9am today and will remain in effect until 9am on March 31.

The prime minister said the order will be lifted upon consultation with health officials.

The prime minister mandated that all establishments, institutions, businesses, offices, stores and organizations suspend operations to the general public except for the following: wholesale or retail grocery stores and farmers’ markets; doctors’ offices, hospitals or medical facilities; pharmacies; gas stations; medical supply establishments; hotels; banks; commercial ports and related businesses; airports; laundromats; drive thru or take away food vendors, and construction companies.

Subject to that order, all other establishments, institutions, businesses or offices inclusive of the public service, as may be authorized by the respective permanent secretary, shall work from home and such establishments, institutions, businesses or offices shall maintain only essential staff for the performance of core functions while adhering at all times to social distancing as prescribed above.