Abaco Chamber: to appeal to competent authority over lockdown measures

Abaco Chamber: to appeal to competent authority over lockdown measures
Abaco Chamber of Commerce President Ken Hutton.

Full weekend curfews for island “unfortunate”, says Chamber

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Abaco Chamber of Commerce president said yesterday it is “unfortunate” that the storm-ravaged island has been subjected to a full 24-hour weekend curfew just as the island seems to be “hitting its stride”.

Ken Hutton, the island’s Chamber of Commerce president, told Eyewitness News he was in the process of writing a letter to the competent authority outlining special circumstances that need to be addressed.

According to Hutton, the closure of gas stations, restaurants and schools were all of serious concern to the island’s residents.

“It is unfortunate. Abaco it seems was just beginning to hit its stride. At the Chamber, we do agree that this COVID situation needs attention. We understand that certain things need to be done. The Chamber will be writing a letter to the competent authority outlining some issues that are unique to Abaco during this time that are not in place in Nassau. There are certain special circumstances that need to be addressed,” said Hutton.

He added: “We believe that it is unrealistic to close down food stores and gas stations this weekend.

“Gas stations supply fuel for generators for persons who still don’t have electricity.

“During previous lockdowns, exceptions were made for takeout restaurants to remain open with curbside service.

“They are an essential service here. A lot of people don’t have electricity or cooking facilities and that’s the only way they can get a hot meal.

“Closing the food stores is just going to make people crowd even more.”

Hutton said the Chamber was not opposed to the 7pm to 5am nightly curfew to begin October 13 and reiterated calls for greater enforcement of COVID measures.

“Anything that helps with security is welcomed,” he said.

“Closing down bars here I don’t think is reasonable. We do question what case is to be made for closing the beaches.

“People are also concerned about the closure of schools.

“Schools on Abaco don’t have the ability to do virtual learning right now. Most schools opened this week for the first time in a year.

“There’s also the psychological aspect of it all. When children weren’t in school, there was a tremendous strain on parents as there is no child care here.”

The new measures impacting Abaco and New Providence will take effect on Friday.

There will be full, 24-hour weekend curfews for New Providence and Abaco only.

The weekend curfews will begin Friday evenings at 7pm and end on Monday mornings at 5 am.

This holiday weekend, there will be a full three-day 24-hour curfew, beginning Friday at 7pm and ending next Tuesday at 5am.