NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The lessening of restrictions on retail operators heading into the Christmas holiday period is “welcome news”, according to Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) chairperson Khrystle Rutherford-Ferguson.
Rutherford-Ferguson said: “The most recent relaxation of measures, together with those previously announced, is welcome news to the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) as it shows a continuation of efforts to further open segments of the local economy. With the holidays upon us, the further loosening of restrictions means that the business community will be able to operate longer hours, thereby meeting the demands of their customers. This fact is a pointed one as it may result in additional persons being called back to work.”
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis on Sunday announced that between Sunday, December 13 and Sunday, December 20, retail operators will be able to provide services between the hours of 6am and 9pm.
This provision applies for the islands of New Providence and Abaco, where the daily 5am to 10pm curfew is still in place.
Rutherford-Ferguson said: “It is important to note that the Christmas time has historically been a particularly busy time for many businesses, which allows them an opportunity to generate revenues that can provide a buffer into the new year. Greater revenues lead to job creation and sustainability, which can boost recovery efforts. There is no doubt that the business community is the lifeblood of the Bahamian economy and every opportunity to support local businesses should be taken.
“The nexus between shopping locally, job creation and economic recovery cannot be understated, as every dollar spent locally impacts our economy in a positive way. Towards that end, the BCCEC has partnered with the Rotary Club of South-East Nassau and Cable Bahamas Business Solutions in a shop local campaign, which incentivizes consumers to patronize local businesses. This is a continuation and expansion of the BCCEC’s efforts last year.”
Acknowledging the continued downward trend in positive COVID-19 cases, Rutherford-Ferguson added: “We would be remiss if we did not highlight the many businesses that continue to adhere to the safety protocols, which aids in consumers being able to shop in a COVID-19-compliant environment.
“The business community has demonstrated its commitment toward minimizing the community spread of the virus by doing its part. Through our various public and private partnerships, the BCCEC will continue to advocate for the needs of the business community and will likewise submit key recommendations as needed.”